When the FBI attacks its critics as 'conspiracy theorists,' it's time to reform the bureau

  

Category:  Op/Ed

Via:  vic-eldred  •  one month ago  •  56 comments

By:   Jonathan Turley (The Hill)

When the FBI attacks its critics as 'conspiracy theorists,' it's time to reform the bureau
The labeling of its critics is particularly menacing.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


"Conspiracy theorists … feeding the American public misinformation" is a familiar attack line for anyone raising free-speech concerns over the FBI's role in social media censorship. What is different is that this attack came from the country's largest law enforcement agency, the FBI — and, since the FBI has made combatting "disinformation" a major focus of its work, the labeling of its critics is particularly menacing.

Fifty years ago, the Watergate scandal provoked a series of events that transformed not only the presidency but federal agencies like the FBI. Americans demanded answers about the involvement of the FBI and other federal agencies in domestic politics. Ultimately, Congress not only investigated the FBI but later impanelled the Church Committee to investigate a host of other abuses by intelligence agencies.

A quick review of recent disclosures and controversies shows ample need for a new Church Committee:

The Russian investigations


The FBI previously was at the center of controversies over documented political bias. Without repeating the long history from the Russian influence scandal, FBI officials like Peter Strzok were fired after emails showed open bias against presidential candidate Donald Trump. The FBI ignored warnings that the so-called Steele dossier, largely funded by the Clinton campaign, was likely used by Russian intelligence to spread disinformation. It continued its investigation despite early refutations of key allegations or discrediting of sources.

Biden family business


The FBI has taken on the character of a Praetorian Guard when the Biden family has found itself in scandals.

For example, there was Hunter Biden's handgun, acquired by apparently lying on federal forms. In 2018, the gun allegedly was tossed into a trash bin in Wilmington, Del., by Hallie Biden, the widow of Hunter's deceased brother and with whom Hunter had a relationship at the time. Secret Service agents reportedly appeared at the gun shop with no apparent reason, and Hunter later said the matter would be handled by the FBI. Nothing was done despite the apparent violation of federal law.

Later, the diary of Hunter's sister, Ashley, went missing. While the alleged theft normally would be handled as a relatively minor local criminal matter, the FBI launched a major investigation that continued for months to pursue those who acquired the diary, which reportedly contains embarrassing entries. Such a massive FBI deployment shocked many of us, but the FBI built a federal case against those who took possession of the diary.

Targeting Republicans and conservatives


Recently the FBI was flagged for targeting two senior House Intelligence Committee staffers in grand jury subpoenas sent to Google. It has been criticized for using the Jan. 6 Capitol riot investigations to target conservative groups and GOP members of Congress, including seizing the phone of one GOP member.

The FBI also has been criticized for targeting pro-life violence while not showing the same vigor toward pro-choice violence.

Hunter's laptop


While the FBI was eager to continue the Russian investigations with no clear evidence of collusion, it showed the opposite inclination when given Hunter Biden's infamous laptop. The laptop would seem to be a target-rich environment for criminal investigators, with photos and emails detailing an array of potential crimes involving foreign transactions, guns, drugs and prostitutes. However, reports indicate that FBI officials moved to quash or slow any investigation.

The computer repairman who acquired the laptop, John Paul Mac Isaac, said he struggled to get the FBI to respond and that agents made thinly veiled threats regarding any disclosures of material related to the Biden family; he said one agent told him that "in their experience, nothing ever happens to people that don't talk about these things."

The 'Twitter Files'


The "Twitter Files" released by Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk, show as many as 80 agents targeting social-media posters for censorship on the site. This included alleged briefings that Twitter officials said was the reason they spiked the New York Post's Hunter Biden laptop story before the 2020 election.

The FBI sent 150 messages on back channels to just one Twitter official to flag accounts. One Twitter executive expressed unease over the FBI's pressure, declaring: "They are probing & pushing everywhere they can (including by whispering to congressional staff)."

We also have learned that Twitter hired a number of retired FBI agents, including former FBI general counsel James Baker, who was a critical and controversial figure in past bureau scandals over political bias.

Attacking critics


It is not clear what is more chilling — the menacing role played by the FBI in Twitter's censorship program, or its mendacious response to the disclosure of that role. The FBI has issued a series of "nothing-to-see-here" statements regarding the Twitter Files.

In its latest statement, the FBI insists it did not command Twitter to take any specific action when flagging accounts to be censored. Of course, it didn't have to threaten the company — because we now have an effective state media by consent rather than coercion. Moreover, an FBI warning tends to concentrate the minds of most people without the need for a specific threat.

Finally, the files show that the FBI paid Twitter millions as part of this censorship system — a windfall favorably reported to Baker before he was fired from Twitter by Musk.

Criticizing the FBI is now 'disinformation'


Responding to the disclosures and criticism, an FBI spokesperson declared: "The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public. It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency."

Arguably, "working every day to protect the American public" need not include censoring the public to protect it from errant or misleading ideas.

However, it is the attack on its critics that is most striking. While the FBI denounced critics of an earlier era as communists and "fellow travelers," it now uses the same attack narrative to label its critics as "conspiracy theorists."

After Watergate, there was bipartisan support for reforming the FBI and intelligence agencies. Today, that cacophony of voices has been replaced by crickets, as much of the media imposes another effective blackout on coverage of the Twitter Files. This media silence suggests that the FBI found the "sweet spot" on censorship, supporting the views of the political and media establishment.

As for the rest of us, the FBI now declares us to be part of a disinformation danger which it is committed to stamping out — "conspiracy theorists" misleading the public simply by criticizing the bureau.

Clearly, this is the time for a new Church Committee — and time to reform the FBI.



Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley.


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Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    one month ago

If all the House Republicans manage to do in the coming two years is to call public attention to the politization of the FBI, it will be a big step forward toward saving our freedoms.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
2  Sean Treacy    one month ago

The FBI needs to be terminated and started over. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    one month ago

Its going to need a massive personnel change.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
2.2  Thrawn 31  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    one month ago

Why?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3  JohnRussell    one month ago

The right is digging themselves a hole they will never get out of. 

The American people dont care about any of this. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @3    one month ago
The American people dont care about any of this. 

They don't?  You mean they are willing to live in a Soviet style State?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.1  JohnRussell  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.1    one month ago

Where is that? 

It was funny to watch Turley complain about "conspiracy theories". All the right has had is conspiracy theories, for a longer period of years than any of us would care to remember. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.1.2  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.1    one month ago
Where is that? 

In front of your eyeballs. Do you deny any of the sordid history of the FBI which is listed in the above article?

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Sophomore Principal
3.1.3  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.1    one month ago
All the right has had is conspiracy theories, for a longer period of years than any of us would care to remember. 

Exactly, Lincoln, Pearl Harbor, JFK assassination, Black Genocide, CIA crack cocaine, FEMA, etc, all right wing conspiracy theories. 
 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.1.4  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.1.3    one month ago

jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

Yet, thus far no comments on the FBI history, part of which has been chronicled in the article.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.5  JohnRussell  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.1.3    one month ago

Should I get started listing right wing conspiracy theories? How much time do you have? 

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Sophomore Principal
3.1.6  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.5    one month ago

I’ve got lots of time, riding thru Tn to Huntsville.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.7  JohnRussell  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.1.6    one month ago

agenda 21

fema concentration camps

jfk jr is alive and working with trump

pizzagate

new world order

the clintons have had 140 people killed

obama is a muslim

scalia was murdered

voter fraud

2000 mules

jade helm

shariah law in U.S.

q anon

-

i think i can find at least 20 more

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Sophomore Principal
3.1.8  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.7    one month ago

Thanks, do you to make a list of urban legends now?

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
3.1.9  Thrawn 31  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.1.8    one month ago

Those are already on the list.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
3.1.10  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.7    one month ago

voter suppression.

Mailboxes being stolen to steal the election

Votes were changed by Russia

Hands up, don't shoot

Officers kill thousands of unarmed black people every year

Bush knew about 9/11

Ohio votes were changed to elect Bush

Trump is a Russian agent

Republicans stole Georgia

Koch Brothers 

etc

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
3.2  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @3    one month ago
he American people dont care about any of this. 

Its amazing who you justify abuses solely by whether it's good for the  Democratic  party or not.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.2.1  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.2    one month ago

People who think the FBI is part of left wing conspiracies are out of their minds. 

Please, keep burying yourselves . 

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
3.2.2  Thrawn 31  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.2    one month ago

Dude if you have to go to “the FBI is part of a Democratic plot to get conservatives” then you ain’t got shit because that is an absurd statement. You may as well be talking about lizard people. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
3.2.3  Greg Jones  replied to  Thrawn 31 @3.2.2    one month ago

Leftist reactionaries can stay deep in denial about how corrupt and rogue the FBI has become, but the truth is plainly visible at every level

The reality of some far reaching investigation into this illegal and dangerous conduct on the part of FBI higher ups can't come too soon

Denial and deflection won't change the truth about what's coming soon.

 

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.2.4  Tessylo  replied to  Greg Jones @3.2.3    one month ago

What's coming soon?  What do you mean 'the truth of' what's coming soon?

I guess the projection, deflection, and denial that you deal in indeed won't change 'the truth of what's coming soon' won't change that, whatever it is/supposed to mean 

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
3.2.5  Thrawn 31  replied to  Greg Jones @3.2.3    one month ago

Yawn, and you all will end up with nothing as usual because there is nothing there. But I am sure the house GOP will have fun doing nothing worthwhile for the next couple years. Lemme know what they discover about the moon landing as well.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
3.2.6  Sean Treacy  replied to  Thrawn 31 @3.2.2    one month ago
n you ain’t got shit because that is an absurd statement

Lol.  Democrats views are always by dictated by who benefits.  If the FBI manipulated evidence, lied to Courts, lied to the public, used Republican bought and paid for campaign research to spy on Democrats to favor Republicans the outrage would have been through the roof.

Compare the Democrats reaction when it was learned that Russia "interfered" in the 2016 election to help Trump and their reaction to the news the Chinese government  interfered to help Democrats.  

Who benefited? is the only question Democrats ask. 

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
3.2.7  Thrawn 31  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.2.6    one month ago

Quite a lot of accusations you are throwing at my fellow LEOs there. Since you have so much evidence bring it to a prosecutor and take it to court. Fight it out in a venue where the truth and evidence actually matter.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
3.2.8  Sean Treacy  replied to  Thrawn 31 @3.2.7    one month ago

f accusations you are throwing at my fellow LEOs ther

Not my accusations. They are the Inspector General and the Department of Justice. 

They've all been widely reported and aren't controversial.  Guess its easier to play ostrich than deal with reality for some. 

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
3.2.9  Thrawn 31  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.2.8    one month ago

Yawn… court…

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
3.2.10  Sean Treacy  replied to  Thrawn 31 @3.2.9    one month ago
Yawn… court…

Ostriches ostrich.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
3.2.11  Thrawn 31  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.2.10    one month ago

Court. Prosecute. If the evidence is there then prosecute. Don’t insult me because you don’t have the sack to prove your case in a venue where evidence matters.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
3.2.12  Sean Treacy  replied to  Thrawn 31 @3.2.11    one month ago

Court. Prosecute.

Now in the next thread, claim Trump has committed all these terrible actions even though he's never been convicted of a crime.   Rinse, repeat. 

Do you think you are fooling anyone with this schtick?

 If the evidence is there then prosecute. 

Lol. You know an FBI agent was convicted of falsifying evidence, right?  You know dishonest and unethical behavior aren't necessarily crimes, right?

A person concerned with civil liberties would be concerned that the laws are so skewed that the FBI can engage in some of these actions without being prosecuted.

A partisan hack will of course, defend anything that helps their party. 

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
3.2.13  Thrawn 31  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.2.12    one month ago
Now in the next thread, claim Trump has committed all these terrible actions even though he's never been convicted of a crime.

Ummm okay? I'll leave that to you.

Do you think you are fooling anyone with this schtick?

What schtick?

Lol. You know an FBI agent was convicted of falsifying evidence, right?  You know dishonest and unethical behavior aren't necessarily crimes, right?

A person concerned with civil liberties would be concerned that the laws are so skewed that the FBI can engage in some of these actions without being prosecuted.

A partisan hack will of course, defend anything that helps their party. 

Take it before a Judge.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
3.3  Ronin2  replied to  JohnRussell @3    one month ago

Sure we don't. 

Keep telling yourself that for the next two damn years while every last damn illegal thing done is outed. By the time it is over voters will be sick of Democrats, the FBI, and Brandon the Human Fuck Up Machine.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
3.3.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  Ronin2 @3.3    one month ago

Maybe maybe not, the GOP don’t seem to have any alternative ideas of any kind. Cut taxes for the rich is not a solution to any of the issues we face. Nor is obsessing over other people’s genitals and sex lives.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.3.2  Tessylo  replied to  Ronin2 @3.3    one month ago

You have absolutely nothing as usual

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
3.3.3  Greg Jones  replied to  Thrawn 31 @3.3.1    one month ago

The American people need to know how corrupt the Biden crime really is, and how beholden they are to China and other countries.

What kind of information is on Hunter's laptop? We'll find before too long.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.3.4  Tessylo  replied to  Greg Jones @3.3.3    one month ago

jrSmiley_86_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
3.3.5  Thrawn 31  replied to  Greg Jones @3.3.3    one month ago

Okay seriously, what “crime” are you even talking about? What are you even accusing them of and why? 

And probably no more beholden than 99% of folks in congress or the rest of upper class America. Not sure where you are going with that. Unless having investments in foreign companies or companies that do business in foreign countries is illegal (it is not) then what are you even talking about?

Now if you are arguing that all government employees (elected reps included) should have to give up any and all investments when they take their positions then I agree.

What kind of information is on Hunter's laptop? We'll find before too long.

Do you really care what kind of porn he watches? And what’s gonna be your excuse when nothing of note is found? Lemme guess, the FBI again? 

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.3.6  Tessylo  replied to  Thrawn 31 @3.3.5    one month ago

They never name the alleged crimes.  Projection

They got nothin', as usual

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
4  Thrawn 31    one month ago

Meh, far as I can tell there is nothing going on with Twitter really, at least nothing of note. Unless you can show me where the FBI or any other govt agency or official threatened either the company or it’s employees I don’t see what any of the fuss is about.

Have yet to see anything worth giving a shit about with the laptop.

Pretending the FBI is all of a sudden targeting or biased against conservatives is laughable at best. The FBI, like virtually all law enforcement organizations, is notoriously conservative.

I would say “what about the Biden family business”, whatever exactly that is, but I know I’ll just get the usual bullshit allegations of various crimes with no supporting evidence and the nonsense that the lack of evidence actually is evidence.

As far as Russia goes, I really never expected that to go anywhere. Obviously the Russian government government wanted Trump to win, and they obviously conducted an influence campaign as best they could, but frankly the Trump campaign was too disorganized and incompetent to actually collude with the Russian government in the first place. Apparently some agents displayed bias and were removed, and the investigation ended with a fizzle. So not much to be upset about there tbh.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
4.1  Tessylo  replied to  Thrawn 31 @4    one month ago

They have HBDS

Nothing to see here, as usual

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
5  seeder  Vic Eldred    one month ago


"The
FBI paid Twitter $3.41 million to censor speech! This is strong evidence of the government employing a private entity to censor. The case needs to get to SCOTUS!"...Sen Rand Paul


 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5.1  Tessylo  replied to  Vic Eldred @5    one month ago

Don't believe anything that whiny lying turd Rand has to say

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5.1.1  Tessylo  replied to  Tessylo @5.1    one month ago

or your attacks against the FBI, a very conservative agency

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
5.1.2  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Tessylo @5.1    one month ago

Yup, just listen to Big Brother.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
5.1.3  Greg Jones  replied to  Tessylo @5.1.1    one month ago

So why are they protecting Democrats...going all the way back to Hillary and her illegal home server and losing 30,000 emails, many of which were top secret?

And now they have been falling all over shielding the Biden crime family. and gone as low as to accuse concerned and angry parents of being threats to democracy.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5.1.4  Tessylo  replied to  Greg Jones @5.1.3    one month ago

You have Hillary Clinton/Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome, just making up shit as you go

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5.1.5  Tessylo  replied to  Greg Jones @5.1.3    one month ago

They're not protecting Democrats or attacking republiturds

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
5.1.6  Thrawn 31  replied to  Greg Jones @5.1.3    one month ago

Greg, you are delusional when it comes to the FBI. No one protected Hillary, in fact you can easily make the argument that the FBI cost her the presidency (aside from the fact that she was the worst choice the Dems could make).

And again, what crimes have the Biden’s committed? What’s your evidence? What is your evidence the FBI is covering up these supposed crimes?

And don’t even bring up Twitter, until you can actually show me where the company took its direction from the government you are just whistling Dixie out of your ass.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
5.1.7  Greg Jones  replied to  Thrawn 31 @5.1.6    one month ago

Oh calm down ...the investigations have yet to commence

The available evidence indicates a lot of bad behavior on the Biden crime family.

Intentional ignorance and denial of facts won't help the guilty parties, be it the Biden's, FBI, or other bad actors.

or their supporters

 

 

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
5.1.8  Thrawn 31  replied to  Greg Jones @5.1.7    one month ago

Perfectly calm dude, perfectly calm, just enjoying my coffee.  Ahhhhh.... yup, finishing my coffee. ( I know someone will recognize that movie quote)

The available evidence indicates a lot of bad behavior on the Biden crime family.

Again, like what? What evidence and what crimes? Seriously, lay them out.

Intentional ignorance and denial of facts won't help the guilty parties, be it the Biden's, FBI, or other bad actors. or their supporters

Uh huh, again I ask, what facts? For real dude, I am in law enforcement, tell me why I should start investigating someone for some crime in this situation? 

 
 
 
bbl-1
Professor Quiet
5.1.9  bbl-1  replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1.2    one month ago

Assuming you're referring to Steve Bannon?

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
5.2  Thrawn 31  replied to  Vic Eldred @5    one month ago

They have the receipts?

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
6  Tessylo    one month ago

How moronic

 
 
 
bbl-1
Professor Quiet
7  bbl-1    one month ago

Or it is time to revoke the 'conspiracy theorists' citizenship.

After proper vetting of course.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
8  Jeremy Retired in NC    one month ago

It's funny how, what the left consider "conspiracy theories", are actually true.  

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
8.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @8    one month ago

Calling blatant wrongdoing, such as the FBI violating the 1st Amendment "Conspiracy theories" and "Russian dissinformation" is a lot easier than tring to defend it.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
8.1.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Vic Eldred @8.1    one month ago

Exactly. 

 
 

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