Biden plans to expand the Fitch Army of Snitches in the “Dollars for Collars” program
How the administration plans to expand its already massive surveillance apparatus.
The Biden administration could soon be recruiting an army of private snoops to conduct surveillance that would be illegal if carried out by federal agents. As part of its war on extremism, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could use a “legal evasion” to spy on and possibly trap Americans who “keep up the” narratives of concern, “CNN reported last week. But federal whistleblowing programs routinely degenerate into “dollar for collars” programs that reward villains for inventing crimes that destroy the lives of innocent Americans. The DHS plan would allow the department to get around this [constitutional and legal] Limits ”for the surveillance of individuals and groups. Federal agencies are prohibited from targeting individuals for purposes of First Amendment-protected speech or activities. But federal rentals would not be subject to such reluctance. Private informants could create false identities which would be problematic if carried out by federal agents.
The DHS will wage a war against an enemy that the government has never clearly or competently defined. According to a March report by Biden’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence, “domestic violent extremists” include those who “are taking overt steps to forcibly resist or facilitate the overthrow of the US government in order to substantiate their beliefs, that the US government is deliberately exceeding its constitutional authority. “Perhaps you would like to set up a private whistleblower system in order to evade constitutional restrictions on surveillance without guarantee?
A DHS official complained to CNN: “Domestic violent extremists are really adaptable and innovative. We see that they are not only switching to encrypted platforms, but are obviously formulating their language so that they do not trigger a red flag on any platform. “DHS officials appear to have ruled that certain groups of people are guilty (” express their language “) regardless of what they say. The targets are likely simply people with bad attitudes towards Washington. This includes gun owners who distrust politicians who swear to guns to seize.
The latest fuzzball standards (“Narrative of Concerns”?) Fit the post-9/11 pattern of wildly expansive threat definitions. Shortly after its establishment in 2002, the DHS warned local law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on anyone who expressed “aversion to US government attitudes and decisions” as potential terrorists. DHS-funded fusion centers have added the “extremist” label to gun rights activists, anti-immigrant zealots, and individuals and groups who “oppose federal agency in favor of state or local authorities” – although many of the Founding Fathers shared the same creed. The Pentagon taught soldiers and bureaucrats that people who participate in public protests are guilty of “low-level terrorism.” In an Air Force report, women wearing hijabs were accused of “passive terrorism”. Endless lists of enemies are useful in appropriations hearings in Congress.
Federal officials insist that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear. FBI chief Christopher Wray keeps proclaiming that the FBI never investigates Americans based on their ideas. As Intercept 2019 reported, “Anyone who the Justice Department chooses to prosecute as a domestic terrorist has little to do with the damage they have caused or the threat they pose to human life.” However, this claim is refuted by the FBI’s beloved “informant loophole”. As Trevor Aaronson explained, “FBI agents must obtain regulatory clearance to enter a group or meeting with an undercover agent. To obtain this approval, the FBI must have a “predicate” or factual basis to suspect criminal activity. But neither government clearance nor a rating is required when the work is being done by an informant, creating a loophole through which the FBI can investigate Americans for virtually any reason. “
Any new informants hired by the Biden administration will operate under the same perverse incentives that have long undermined due process. Whistleblowers are usually rewarded based on how much assets they help the government seize or how many people they help prosecutors convict. A 2019 report by the American Bar Association said, “The government pays cash for incriminating information and statements. This is worrying as the financial incentive to take action against others can be much greater than the informants’ personal integrity. “A report from the Department of Justice’s General Inspectorate accused the Drug Enforcement Agency of failing to document the reliability of informants who helped the DEA seize billions of dollars in private property. The DEA paid informants $ 237 million between 2010 and 2015, including $ 25 million that was only given to nine informants. The DEA’s highest paid informant, Andrew Chambers Jr., was found to have “made false testimony under oath in at least 16 law enforcement operations across the country before he was exposed in the late 1990s.” USA today reported in 2013. Attorney General Janet Reno banned the DEA from using him as an informant, but in 2008 the DEA reinstated Chambers and appointed him for at least five years.
Informants have become far more dangerous to freedom and decency since the 1970s as the Supreme Court effectively defined imprisonment out of existence. Almost anything that an informant or undercover government official does to induce someone to break the law is considered fair game. Craig Monteilh, an informant sent to mosques in southern California, was given permission by his FBI staff to sleep with Muslim women he targeted and to secretly tape their pillow conversations. Other FBI informants hit their targets to discuss the bombing of government buildings and provide enough verbal ropes to hang them up. The vast majority of those charged with international terrorist offenses in the decade following September 11th were not serious threats but, according to Trevor Aaronson, were induced to behave by the FBI or by informants in such a way that they were arrested The Terror Factory: As part of the FBI-made war on terrorism.
One purpose of reliance on private whistleblowers is to ensure that federal fingerprints are not left if people are tricked or made to break the law. The FBI admits that it officially authorizes its army of informers to commit more than 5,000 crimes a year. There is no estimate of the number of crimes committed directly by FBI agents who have been officially taught that “the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impair the freedom of others”. Thanks to the FBI’s Iron Curtain of Secrecy, we have no idea what kind of atrocities its informants might commit right now. During the George W. Bush administration, the White House officially invoked the privilege of the executive branch to block the disclosure of the FBI’s Treasury Accords to Whitey Bulger, a notorious FBI informant and Irish crime boss linked to 20 murders. The FBI knew about Bulger’s role in murders, but lied in court to protect him and even gave false testimony to send innocent men to prison for life to protect Bulger. This debacle was highlighted in a 2004 congressional report entitled “Everything that is secret has degenerated: the FBI’s use of murderers as informants. “In 2011, a federal judge aptly described the FBI’s conduct in the case as” uncontrolled official malice. “
In 2016, Omar Mateen carried out the largest terrorist attack since September 11, killing 49 people in the attack on Orlando Pulse Nightclub. Prior to his attack, Mateen boasted of his links with terrorists and threatened Al Qaeda to kill a colleague’s family. His mosque warned authorities that he posed a threat to public safety. But the FBI made the local sheriff’s department stop investigating Mateen because a “confidential informant” assured FBI agents that Mateen was not a terrorist and would not go “in the mail or anything”. The federal case against the killer’s widow collapsed in 2018 after jury belatedly learned that the killer’s father, an Afghan immigrant, had been an FBI informant since 2005 and may have used his influence to ensure that his son was ahead of his Rampage was not arrested.
The FBI has long relied on informants to choreograph political violence. In the 1960s, according to a 1976 Senate report, FBI informants “formed a Klan organization to evacuate members from the United Klans of America.” An FBI informant for the Klan, along with other Klansmen, “hit people badly, got on buses and kicked [Freedom Riders] out “and beat restaurant customers” with blackjacks, chains, pistols. “In 2006, a paid FBI informant organized and led a neo-Nazi march in a black neighborhood in Orlando, Florida. In 2017, an FBI informant led a Klan rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, adding to the tension and fear of the much bigger ones and notorious Charlottesville Unite the Right rally the following month, no information has yet been given about the role federal informants played in the January 6 clash at the Capitol.
DHS aims to attract more private informants while federal covert operations are already spiraling out of control. At least 40 federal agencies are currently conducting covert operations involving thousands of agents. An undercover DEA agent “created a fake Facebook page from photos of a young woman in Watertown, New York – without her knowledge – to lure drug suspects.” New York Times reported. IRS agents are officially allowed to “pose as a lawyer, doctor, clergyman or member of the news media.” The Times In 2014, it was found that “the military and its law enforcement agencies have nearly as many undercover agents in the United States as the FBI”, often serving in joint federal task forces of the type likely to be expanded to deal with extremist Biden members . A stab operation by the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Agency got mentally disabled people to get tattooed to advertise their counterfeit gun shop in violation of federal laws protecting the disabled. Oversight is often a mirage: an ATF committee set up to oversee covert operations has not bothered to meet for more than half a decade. The Times noted that “even Justice Department officials say they are unsure how many agents are undercover.”
The Biden administration is considering introducing a new surveillance program at a time when Americans have no idea how many federal agencies are already spying on them. Yahoo News announced last month that the postal inspection service was running iCOP (Internet Covert Operations Program) to search social media and other websites for “inflammatory” posts on topics such as protests against the COVID lockdown. Postal inspectors were given access to private messages through Parler and Telegram, presumably without a warrant. The iCOP program is passing its discoveries on to other federal agencies. Rachel Levinson-Waldman of the Brennan Center for Justice commented that iCop “seems a little bizarre” because the surveillance “involved monitoring social media unrelated to the use of the postal system”. MP Thomas Massie (R-KY) denounced the program for violating the constitution and asked, “The USPS has been losing money for many years … so where can you find money to run this surveillance program?” Unfortunately, federal agencies who trample the law and the constitution in their oversight efforts are usually punished with budget increases.
Perhaps setting up a new whistleblowing system to bypass the Constitution is not the best answer for extremists who fear the government is lawless. Unfortunately, Americans are unlikely to hear of crimes committed by Biden’s new snoopers until long after the damage was done, if at all.
James Bovard is the author of Lost rights, Attention Deficit Democracy, and Public order hooligan. He is also a USA today Columnist. Follow him on Twitter @ JimBovard.