Rein in the FBI


Rein in the FBI

by John W. Whitehead

May 26, 2023

One of the creeping hands of totalitarianism running through the democracy is the Federal Bureau of Investigation… Because why does the FBI do all this? To scare the hell out of people… They work for the establishment and the corporations and the politicos to keep things as they are. And they want to frighten and chill the people who are trying to change things.”—Howard Zinn, historianWhether 50 years ago or in the present day, the treatment being doled out by the government’s lethal enforcers has remained consistent, no matter the threat.
[Click to Tweet]

Power corrupts. We know this.

In fact, we know this from experience learned the hard way at the hands of our own government.

So why is anyone surprised to learn that the FBI, one of the most power-hungry and corrupt agencies within the police state’s vast complex of power-hungry and corrupt agencies, misused a massive government surveillance database more than 300,000 times in order to target American citizens?

This is how the government operates, after all.

First, they seek out extraordinary powers acquired in the wake of some national crisis—in this case, warrantless surveillance powers intended to help the government spy on foreign targets suspected of engaging in terrorism—and then they use those powers against the American people.

According to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the FBI repeatedly misused Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in order to spy on the communications of two vastly disparate groups of Americans: those involved in the George Floyd protests and those who may have taken part in the Jan. 6, 2021, protests at the Capitol.

This is par for the course for the FBI, whose modus operandi has historically been to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” perceived threats to the government’s power.

Indeed, the FBI has a long history of persecuting, prosecuting and generally harassing activists, politicians, and cultural figures.

Back in the 1950s and ‘60s, the FBI’s targets were civil rights activists, those suspected of having Communist ties, and anti-war activists. In more recent decades, the FBI has expanded its reach to target so-called domestic extremists, environmental activists, and those who oppose the police state.

In 2019, President Trump promised to give the FBI “whatever they need” to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism, without any apparent thought for the Constitution’s prohibitions on such overreach.

That misguided pledge sheds a curious light on the FBI’s ongoing spree of SWAT team raids, surveillance, disinformation campaigns, fear-mongering, paranoia, and strong-arm tactics meted out to dissidents on both the right and the left.

Yet while these overreaching, heavy-handed lessons in how to rule by force have become standard operating procedure for a government that communicates with its citizenry primarily through the language of brutality, intimidation and fear, none of this is new.

Indeed, the FBI’s love affair with totalitarianism can be traced back to the Nazi police state.

As historian Robert Gellately recounts, the Nazi police state was so admired for its efficiency and order by the world powers of the day that in the decades after World War II, the FBI, along with other government agencies, aggressively recruited at least a thousand Nazis, including some of Hitler’s highest henchmen.

Since then, U.S. government agencies—the FBI, CIA and the military—have fully embraced many of the Nazi’s well-honed policing tactics, and used them repeatedly against American citizens.

With every passing day, the United States government borrows yet another leaf from Nazi Germany’s playbook: Secret police. Secret courts. Secret government agencies. Surveillance. Censorship. Intimidation. Harassment. Torture. Brutality. Widespread corruption. Entrapment. Indoctrination. Indefinite detention.

These are not tactics used by constitutional republics, where the rule of law and the rights of the citizenry reign supreme. Rather, they are the hallmarks of authoritarian regimes, where secret police control the populace through intimidation, fear and official lawlessness on the part of government agents.

Consider the extent to which the FBI’s far-reaching powers to surveil, detain, interrogate, investigate, prosecute, punish, police and generally act as a law unto themselves resemble those of their Nazi cousins, the Gestapo.

Just like the Gestapo, the FBI has vast resources, vast investigatory powers, and vast discretion to determine who is an enemy of the state.

Much like the Gestapo spied on mail and phone calls, FBI agents have carte blanche access to the citizenry’s most personal information.

Much like the Gestapo’s sophisticated surveillance programs, the FBI’s spying capabilities can delve into Americans’ most intimate details (and allow local police to do so, as well).

Much like the Gestapo’s ability to profile based on race and religion, and its assumption of guilt by association, the FBI’s approach to pre-crime allows it to profile Americans based on a broad range of characteristics including race and religion.

Much like the Gestapo’s power to render anyone an enemy of the state, the FBI has the power to label anyone a domestic terrorist.

Much like the Gestapo infiltrated communities in order to spy on the German citizenry, the FBI routinely infiltrates political and religious groups, as well as businesses.

Just as the Gestapo united and militarized Germany’s police forces into a national police force, America’s police forces have largely been federalized and turned into a national police force.

Just as the Gestapo carried out entrapment operations, the FBI has become a master in the art of entrapment.

Just as the Gestapo’s secret files on political leaders were used to intimidate and coerce, the FBI’s attempts to target and spy on anyone suspected of “anti-government” sentiment have been similarly abused.

The Gestapo became the terror of the Third Reich by creating a sophisticated surveillance and law enforcement system that relied for its success on the cooperation of the military, the police, the intelligence community, neighborhood watchdogs, government workers for the post office and railroads, ordinary civil servants, and a nation of snitches inclined to report “rumors, deviant behavior, or even just loose talk.”

Likewise, as countless documents make clear, the FBI has had no qualms about using its extensive powers in order to blackmail politicians, spy on celebrities and high-ranking government officials, and intimidate and attempt to discredit dissidents of all stripes.

In fact, borrowing heavily from the Gestapo, between 1956 and 1971, the FBI conducted an intensive domestic intelligence program, termed COINTELPRO, intended to neutralize domestic political dissidents. As Congressman Steve Cohen explains, “COINTELPRO was set up to surveil and disrupt groups and movements that the FBI found threatening… many groups, including anti-war, student, and environmental activists, and the New Left were harassed, infiltrated, falsely accused of criminal activity          .”

Sound familiar? The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Those targeted by the FBI under COINTELPRO for its intimidation, surveillance and smear campaigns included: Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, the Black Panther Party, Billie Holiday, Emma Goldman, Aretha Franklin, Charlie Chaplin, Ernest Hemingway, Felix Frankfurter, John Lennon, and hundreds more.

The Church Committee, the Senate task force charged with investigating COINTELPRO abuses in 1975, denounced the government’s abuses:

“Too many people have been spied upon by too many Government agencies and too much information has been collected. The Government has often undertaken the secret surveillance of citizens on the basis of their political beliefs, even when those beliefs posed no threat of violence or illegal acts on behalf of a hostile foreign power.”

The report continued:

“Groups and individuals have been harassed and disrupted because of their political views and their lifestyles. Investigations have been based upon vague standards whose breadth made excessive collection inevitable. Unsavory and vicious tactics have been employed—including anonymous attempts to break up marriages, disrupt meetings, ostracize persons from their professions, and provoke target groups into rivalries that might result in deaths. Intelligence agencies have served the political and personal objectives of presidents and other high officials.”

Whether 50 years ago or in the present day, the treatment being doled out by the government’s lethal enforcers has remained consistent, no matter the threat.

The FBI’s laundry list of crimes against the American people includes surveillance, disinformation, blackmail, entrapment, intimidation tactics, harassment and indoctrination, governmental overreach, abuse, misconduct, trespassing, enabling criminal activity, and damaging private property, and that’s just based on what we know.

Whether the FBI is planting undercover agents in churches, synagogues and mosques; issuing fake emergency letters to gain access to Americans’ phone records; using intimidation tactics to silence Americans who are critical of the government; recruiting high school students to spy on and report fellow students who show signs of being future terrorists; or persuading impressionable individuals to plot acts of terror and then entrapping them, the overall impression of the nation’s secret police force is that of a well-dressed thug, flexing its muscles and doing the boss’ dirty work of ensuring compliance, keeping tabs on potential dissidents, and punishing those who dare to challenge the status quo.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, it’s time to rein in the Federal Bureau of Intimidation’s war on political freedom.

This article was originally published at The Rutherford Institute.

Category: Free Society

This post was written by: John W. Whitehead

John W. Whitehead is a constitutional attorney, author, and founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He can be contacted at This article is a revised version of a piece that originally appeared on the Rutherford Institute website,, and is reprinted by permission.

Rich Communists are Still Communists

Regardless of what happens with the debt ceiling, Republicans WILL get blamed for any disaster, real or imagined. They will get blamed because the media, which is 99 percent Communist, associates Republicans with capitalism, and Communists hate capitalism. They hate capitalism, but they sure LOVE money — their own money, that is. DemComs want a super wealthy elite of psycho-wokesters, along with an impoverished underclass to depend on them, because this makes their soulless, parasitical psyches feel significant. (This is why they love these poor migrants flooding the border.) But you must understand they want NO middle class. That’s what these Wall Street/L.A./Janet Yellen Commies have in common with the old fashioned Soviet and Castro Commies: an uninhibited, bottomless thirst to eradicate the middle class. It’s what Communism does.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Why “Don’t End Friendships Over Politics” Is No Longer Correct

We’re told not to end friendships or break family ties “just because of politics.”

OK, then how about this:

Your leftist friends and family want you to starve, freeze to death or die of the heat due to the elimination of fossil fuels. They want you to walk or get a horse and buggy if you can’t afford a $50K or $100K electric car by 2030. They want you to spend 90 percent of your week working to support a 30 year old living in his parents’ basement playing video games and wanking off to porn. They want you to endure hyperinflation so immigrants who fled Venezuela because of hyperinflation can now experience it here, while staying for free in former luxury hotels and flying for free first class in luxury airplanes paid for by YOU while you get to live like those immigrants did back in Venezuela.

They want you to be censored on Facebook and YouTube, pay way higher taxes, be regulated into oblivion with rules that contradict each other and rules that THEY, as good progressive Democrats, do not have to follow. They want you to face the full wrath of the FBI if you take any political position they don’t like. They want you prosecuted with a felony if you call the man next door wearing a dress a man, when he decides one day he’s really a woman. They want you to face felony charges for this while rapists, shoplifters and murderers are let go to satisfy government racial quotas for prisons. They want you to subsidize multiple million dollar payments to EACH member of a politically protected racial class to which you do not belong. And they want you to obey ANY medical directives the government deems to be for the common good, while being forced to pay for the abortions of strangers. They don’t want you to have a viable alternative in any election and they don’t want you to complain about it.

When you focus on the actual facts, this is exactly what your leftist and Democratic friends and family support. Do you still wish to consider them loved ones?

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Trump or DeSantis: It Doesn’t Matter

Everyone who reads my posts wants to know: Who’s my pick? Trump or DeSantis?


Re: Trump and his alleged baggage: I will take Trump 1000 times over any Democrat (i.e., totalitarian), and I will also gladly take DeSantis–in both cases, with reservations, since I don’t agree with either on everything. Sadly, with ballot fraud and mail-in voting to continue in “swing” states–to say nothing of what they have in store for us next–it doesn’t matter too much. No Republican is going to win, because no Republican can win without swing states; and Atlanta, Philadelphia and greater Phoenix, controlled by sinister DemComs, will determine the outcome for what’s left of the American republic.

For now, I see the best option as supporting in a last desperate but still plausible attempt to restore our original Bill of Rights and Constitution. Beyond that, I only see secession and breakup for the states and localities who cannot roll over and willingly submit to a ridiculous, collectivist yet fully toxic and dangerous woke empire. Yes, this will likely lead to bloodshed, and that is tragic. So is a one-party, totalitarian country.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

George Washington Executed Traitors

This glorified, totalitarian mobster who made billions off a scamdemic, killing who knows how many with an ineffective, toxic “vaccine” and instead of being humiliated, tried and executed for treason, smugly continues to lecture lesser mortals. Our once great nation, who defeated Hitler, won the Cold War, ended slavery and raised the bar on human freedom, is not well.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Is the Wealth of American Capitalism the Result of Slavery?


The opening lecture that I deliver every time I teach a Principles of Microeconomics course, which I do each semester, is on what the economic historian and liberal philosopher Deirdre McCloskey calls “the Great Enrichment.” I impress upon my students (most of whom are in their late teens) that they and everyone they know are off-the-charts materially wealthier than were the vast majority of all humans who ever lived. I explain that millennia after millennia, our human ancestors breathed, toiled, and perished in poverty so grinding that we today can barely imagine it.

This pattern of existence, when reckoned in historical time, was suddenly shattered just over two centuries ago. First in Holland, and then even more spectacularly in Britain, ordinary people gained steadily greater access to goods and services that in the past either were available only to royals, nobles, and members of high priestly classes, or – more commonly – weren’t available to anyone at all. Even Louis XIV, likely the most powerful man in the world, could not travel in motorized vehicles, escape from the heat of summer into air-conditioned rooms, converse in real time with people out of earshot, avoid having his face disfigured with smallpox, improve his vision with contact lenses or Lasik surgery, or treat his gonorrhea with antibiotics.

A key purpose of my intro econ course is to help my students understand that and how peaceful, commercial cooperation – today spanning the globe and involving billions of people nearly all of whom are strangers to each other – emerges to create and maintain our astonishing material prosperity.

Some students more than others resist my explanation of how. One such student – a freshman who I’ll call “Sarah” – came up to me after our most recent class and asked this question: “Isn’t our wealth the result of slavery?” She continued: “My high-school history teacher taught us that our wealth was extracted from slaves.” Sarah seemed to be convinced by her high-school teacher’s explanation.

Don to Sarah: “Yes, I’ve heard that claim, but I don’t buy it. How do you explain the fact slavery in America ended 157 years ago and ever since then the wealth of ordinary Americans has continued not only to grow, but to grow far more impressively than it did when slavery still existed. Think of what happened in the 20th century. Ordinary Americans got easy access to electrification, radio, television, automobiles, a continent-spanning network of paved roads, air travel, air conditioning, supermarkets, antibiotics, contact lenses, and laptops and smartphones. All of these pieces of prosperity were created long after slavery’s demise.”

Sarah to Don: “Yes, but these things were made possible by the wealth that whites extracted from slaves. Without the wealth produced by slaves and then stolen from them, we wouldn’t have had the foundation to produce what we did after slavery ended.”

Don: “American slaves worked overwhelmingly in agriculture. How did, say, cotton picked by slaves in Louisiana in 1860 turn 160 years later in Michigan into middle-class homes equipped with wi-fi, Google Home, and refrigerators stuffed with orange juice from Florida, pineapples from Hawaii, and sauvignon blanc from New Zealand?”

Sarah: “The wealth stolen from slave labor was eventually invested in factories that produced all these things.”

Don: “Not so. Consider, for example, Henry Ford. He was born into modest means on a Michigan farm in 1863 to a family with no history of slave-owning. What made him successful in business?”

Sarah: “You’re asking me?”

Don: “I am.”

Sarah: “I’m not sure. I don’t know the specifics.”

Don: “Henry Ford had entrepreneurial ideas. He also had the gumption and the freedom, as the economist Deirdre McCloskey says, ‘to have a go’ at putting his ideas into practice. Ford, like countless other lesser-known entrepreneurs, created wealth. Ford grew rich by dramatically increasing the efficiency of producing automobiles that the masses eagerly bought. His business success owed nothing to slavery.”

Sarah: “I get that he didn’t use slaves. But I feel that the capital to start his company probably came from wealth that had earlier been produced by slaves.”

Me: “First, the capital that first backed Ford came from a man named William H. Murphy. Born in 1855 in Maine, Murphy moved to Detroit where he and his father were successful in the lumber business. I’m pretty sure that post-Civil War Michigan lumbermen didn’t earn any income from slavery. Murphy, like Ford after him, created his wealth by running a successful business.

“Second, regardless of the source of the capital that Murphy invested in Ford’s new business, that investment would have been worth diddlysquat if Ford hadn’t had the vision, energy, and freedom to use those resources in ways that produced outputs that the masses wanted to buy and at costs low enough to make it worthwhile for Ford to continue to produce. This is what I mean when I say that Ford created wealth – wealth, obviously, for himself, but also for his customers in the form of automobiles that were worthwhile to purchase, and for his workers in the form of opportunities to earn incomes higher than they could have earned by working elsewhere.”

Sarah: “But I still feel that the seed money for all these later companies like Ford’s came from the slave economy that lasted in this country for centuries.”

Don: “Sarah, don’t feel. Think! Don’t you see that Ford created wealth? Don’t you see that he created value that didn’t exist until he put his entrepreneurial ideas into action? If Henry Ford could, without slavery – as you admit – turn some amount of wealth into a larger amount of wealth, why can’t other people have done the same, before and after Ford? Even if – contrary to fact – all of the seed money for the Ford Motor Co. happened to come from former slave owners, what created Henry Ford’s wealth and the valuable goods that he produced for millions of Americans was Henry Ford’s entrepreneurial vision and effort put into operation in an economy that permitted him to act entrepreneurially. No amount of resource-value grows into a larger amount of resource-value automatically.

“The ability of an entrepreneur to turn some amount of resource-value into greater resource-value doesn’t depend upon the source of the initial funding that the entrepreneur used to launch his or her venture. What matters is the entrepreneurship and the freedom of markets, which emphatically has nothing to do with slavery.”

Sarah: “I don’t know. Capitalism followed slavery. That must be significant.”

Me: “Do you remember my lecture from about three weeks ago in which I warned against the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy? You’re committing that fallacy now. You can’t legitimately conclude that if event A is followed by event B, that A caused B. Maybe it did, but maybe it didn’t. In fact, it’s possible that B happened despite, and not because of, A. Just because people leave their homes in the morning carrying umbrellas doesn’t mean that the rain that started later that day was caused by people carrying umbrellas.”

“Slavery was prevalent throughout human societies for millennia. If slavery was the cause of capitalism, don’t you think that capitalism would have started at least seven or eight thousand years ago? If slavery is the source of our prosperity today, why are not all countries in the world as rich as are the United States and Sweden? Do you realize that Brazil had slavery until 1888, nearly a quarter-century longer than the U.S. had slavery? Yet Brazilians have always been, and remain today, much poorer than Americans.”

Sarah: “I’m not convinced.”

Me: “Well, may I ask that you keep an open mind for the rest of this semester? Perhaps what’s still to come in our economics course will help you to better understand why I’m certain that modern prosperity has no connection whatsoever to slavery except that it is capitalism – and the ideas that support it – that brought about slavery’s demise.”

Sarah: “Yes, I’ll keep an open mind. Good night, professor.”

Me: “Thanks Sarah. That’s all I can ask. Good night. See you in our next class.”

Made available by the American Institute for Economic Research.

When Rights are Politicized, You’re Living Under Tyranny

“Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry,” attributed to Thomas Jefferson. That’s where we are today. We label it “elitism”, because connected members of The Party (wealthy Democrats and wealthy RINOs) may do whatever they wish regardless of the law, while the rest of us may not do anything we wish, at least if it offends The Party.

It’s also a dictatorship if the government authorities may show up at your house, as the FBI now routinely does, if your only offense is supporting a party in opposition to The Party. If you supported Trump and showed up at the U.S. Capitol January 6 simply to quietly and peacefully show your support, you’re a domestic terrorist — for that reason alone. If you support changing the curriculum of books in government-funded schools your children attend, because you don’t particularly care for Communism, mandatory drag queen shows for 6-year-olds, mandatory gender mutilation for 9-year-olds or racial supremacy ideology being taught to your children — for that reason alone, you are a domestic terrorist. If you don’t want a government-mandated experimental medical treatment for the cold and flu — for that reason alone, you are a domestic terrorist, censored through social media (essentially run by the government) and you’ll probably get a visit by the FBI too.

I have no hope that Republicans will ever get us out of this mess. At a minimum, they should be doing everything in their power to defund the FBI and arrest anyone at the top who’s responsible for these brazen violations of the U.S. Bill of Rights, done out in the open, right in front of us with totalitarian glee. If the House of Representatives under (temporary) control of Republicans can’t or won’t do that, then will they do anything if ever given full power of the government again, which they won’t get thanks to mail-in voting and ballot fraud?

We need a revolution. But if most people don’t even want a revolution, or are too complacent to care, the minority of us who want a change will have to watch everything descend into tyranny like America has never seen.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason