Today, President Trump announced his choice for the new leader of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). While his choice of candidate has generally been well received by commentators on both side of the isle it is unlikely he will implement the needed reforms to the FBI. While Jim Comey and the FBI have been grabbing headlines over the past year, few pundits, or politicians are seriously talking about the true threat surrounding the national police force.
The FBI has a storied and well documented history of spying on American citizens. From heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, such as Martin Luther King Jr , to States Rights Organizations the FBI has often opted to cast a wide net when searching for criminals. While some may brush off the domestic surveillance as something only applicable to radical political groups, it’s important to note even the most patriotic and loyal citizens have been placed under the watchful eye of the FBI.
Numerous times during its history, the FBI has taken a keen interest in veterans groups after they come back from overseas. In some instances the bureau has gone as far as raiding the homes of veterans who espouse unpopular political beliefs. If the brave men and women who risk their lives defending Americans’ sacred liberties aren’t safe from FBI overreach can the average citizen feel safe? No, they cannot.
Partnering with local law enforcement agencies the FBI has created physical infrastructure to listen in on calls across the country, without a warrant, or probable cause. Local communities from coast to coast are under constant surveillance, many without even realizing it. Even if you manage to live in an area where the FBI is not partnering with local authorities to listen in on your phone calls, which is unlikely, you may still be targeted if you utilize social media .
A striking case which laid bare the FBI’s understanding of its own power came when they publically demanded that Apple create a “backdoor” for its consumer products which would allow them to break into anyone’s phone at any given time. The audacity of a government agency demanding that a company make its products less safe rightfully enraged the public, but many soon forgot after the crisis was averted .
Getting rid of Comey, who,while once showed restraint on surveillance, led the charge on many civil liberty abuses committed by the FBI, is a good start, but if the administration is legitimately concerned with reforming the FBI and protecting Americans civil liberties they will need to do a major staff shakeup.
Needed even more desperately than new faces in the bureau is a Digital Bill Of Rights which would ensure no government agency could spy American citizens without a warrant. Right now you can take action and send a message to Congress demanding they pass a Digital Bill of Rights to protect yourself and your posterity from needless government surveillance.