by James Bovard
Does “FBI” now stand for “Following Biden’s Instructions”? The FBI is doing backflips to boost Joe Biden’s re-election campaign. Unfortunately, federal courts don’t recognize law enforcement shenanigans as a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
The FBI is categorizing Donald Trump’s supporters as terrorist suspects, according to a new report in Newsweek. The FBI created “a new category of extremists that it seeks to track and counter: Donald Trump’s army of MAGA followers,” Newsweek revealed. The FBI is relying on the same counterterrorism methods honed to fight al Qaeda to go after the incumbent president’s political opponents.
Naturally, the latest Washington crusade against extremism has more malarkey than a White House summit. Federal bureaucrats heaved together a bunch of letters to contrive an ominous new acronym for the latest peril to domestic tranquility. The result: AGAAVE—“anti-government, anti-authority violent extremism”—which looks like a typo for a sugar substitute.
Recently, the FBI vastly expanded the supposed AGAAVE peril by broadening suspicion from “furtherance of ideological agendas” to “furtherance of political and/or social agendas.” Anyone who has an agenda different from Team Biden’s could be AGAAVE’d for his own good. The great majority of the FBI’s “current ‘anti-government’ investigations are of Trump supporters,” William Arkin, a highly respected investigative journalist, reported in Newsweek.
The FBI crackdown is following some of the most overheated political rhetoric of our era. Biden has denounced Trump supporters for “semi-fascism.” Biden tweeted last November, “Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans are a threat to the very soul of this country.”
Biden’s Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall declared, “The use of violence to pursue political ends is a profound threat to our public safety and national security…it is a threat to our national identity, our values, our norms, our rule of law—our democracy.” And since Team Biden says that Trump supporters could be violent, suppressing them is the only way to protect “the will of the people” or whatever honorific is used for rigged election results.
In June, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a warning: “Sociopolitical developments—such as narratives of fraud in the recent general election, the emboldening impact of the violent breach of the U.S. Capitol, conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and conspiracy theories promoting violence—will almost certainly spur some domestic terrorists to try to engage in violence.” In other words, alleging that there was election fraud in past elections can qualify a person as a terrorist suspect—and justify suppressing their political activity in subsequent elections.
Biden’s FBI views Trump supporters as a deadly threat to democracy, thereby justifying subverting or crippling Trump supporters’ ability to oppose Biden and other Democrats.
The FBI is required to have (or claim to have) solid information before launching a criminal investigation. But the bureau needs almost zero information to open an “assessment.” The FBI conducted more than 5,500 domestic-terrorism “assessments” in 2021, a 10-fold increase since 2017 and a 50-fold increase since 2013. “Assessments are the closest thing to domestic spying that exists in America and generally not talked about by the Bureau,” Arkin noted. The House Weaponization Subcommittee warned that “the FBI appears to be complicit in artificially supporting the Administration’s political narrative” that domestic violent extremism is “the ‘greatest threat’ facing the United States.”
Those assessments could prove perilous because the official demand for terrorists far exceeds the domestic supply. A top federal official told Newsweek last year, “We’ve become too prone to labeling anything we don’t like as extremism, and then any extremist as a terrorist.” “Trespassing plus thought crimes equals terrorism” is the Biden standard for prosecuting January 6 defendants.
FBI whistleblower Steve Friend complained of current FBI leadership, “There is this belief that half the country are domestic terrorists and we can’t have a conversation with them. There is a fundamental belief that unless you are voicing what we agree…you are the enemy.”
Did the Biden administration secretly want Newsweek to vindicate the fears of legions of Trump supporters? Perhaps those “assessments” are repeating a tactic used against Vietnam War protesters: FBI agents were encouraged to conduct frequent interviews with antiwar activists to “enhance the paranoia endemic in such circles” and “get the point across that there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox,” according to an FBI memo from that era.
The more abusive the FBI becomes, the more outraged that Trump supporters sound, thereby justifying further FBI repression. That also makes it easier for Team Biden to portray Trump supporters as public menaces.
Biden’s war on extremism could become a self-fulfilling prophecy that destroys American political legitimacy. An official in the Office of Director of National Intelligence lamented, “So we have the president increasing his own inflammatory rhetoric which leads Donald Trump and the Republicans to do the same”—and the media follow suit. Biden is exempt from official suspicion even when he denounced Republicans as fascists who want to destroy democracy. Yet if Republicans sound equally overheated, Biden’s FBI has pretexts to unleash the hounds.
Is there any limit to the federal entrapment operations designed to spur headlines that make politicians applaud? The latest FBI crackdown echoes a DHS campaign that was leaked to the press in 2021. Federal policymakers launched a “legal work-around” to spy on and potentially entrap Americans who are “perpetuating the ‘narratives’ of concern,” CNN reported. The DHS plan would “allow the department to circumvent [constitutional and legal] limits” on surveillance of private citizens and groups. Federal agencies are prohibited from targeting individuals solely for First Amendment-protected speech and activities. But federal hirelings would be under no such restraint.
Will the FBI’s interventions in the 2024 presidential election be even more brazen than its 2016 and 2020 stunts? Will the agency exploit its “assessments” to recruit knuckleheads to engage in another pre-election Keystone Kops plot to kidnap a governor, as it did in Michigan in 2020?
The FBI has a sordid history of intervening in presidential elections since 1948—if not before. A 1976 Senate report on FBI abuses warned, “The American people need to be assured that never again will an agency of the government be permitted to conduct a secret war against those citizens it considers threats to the established order.” Unfortunately, Americans may not learn the damning details of another FBI “secret war” until long after the next election.
Ironically, the Biden administration is vilifying anti-government opinions at the same time judges are exposing federal crimes. Federal court decisions in July and September condemned the Biden censorship regime—and those rulings were preceded by Supreme Court decisions striking down President Joe Biden’s student-loan-forgiveness scheme and vaccine mandates.
But Team Biden still presumes anyone who suspects the feds are violating the Constitution is up to no good. In the same way that Biden based his 2020 election campaign on vilifying Charlottesville 2017 protests, so the Biden re-election campaign will vilify anyone who distrusts the feds. Regardless of the outcome, the 2024 election will be another boomtime for cynics.