“I don’t believe so, but I can’t sit here and be sure” if the Department of Justice is illegally spying on your social media accounts. Not exactly a comforting statement from Christopher Wray, the head of the FBI. Sounds to us like parsing words to avoid being charged with lying to the Senate. Senate Judiciary Committee member Rand Paul, who has been trying his best to hold our government accountable, asked if the FBI was accepting bulk data from social media companies. Wray knew this question was coming and chose not to give a straight answer.
The last time Wray had been in front of the Committee, He had left early, claiming that he had other business to attend to. The reality was that Wray was taking the FBI plane to meet his family for a vacation in the Adirondacks. We don’t begrudge the hardworking Director a vacation, and he must be available 24 hours a day, so we don’t even begrudge him the plane. It is the fact that he left the meeting 21 minutes early to get on his own personal flight that is troubling. It’s not like he had to catch the next JetBlue out of LaGuardia and was worried about the line at TSA. It seems like he just didn’t want to answer any more questions. When Wray was asked about this incident, it appeared like he was less than truthful again. It seems like all the FBI does these days is obfuscate and dodge.
These questions are coming at the heels of a report that there is a program known as Operation Bronze Griffin within the Justice Department and Homeland Security which allows a very concerning relationship to exist between Facebook and the Government. The House Judiciary Committee Republicans (only Republicans because partisanship is more important than the Constitution in our federal government) released a 1,000+page report on the politization of the FBI and DOJ. The report includes whistleblower allegations on Bronze Griffin and how the FBI accepts data from Facebook without subpoena and seemingly unrelated to a specific case. The whistleblower contended that that information shared is predominantly on one side of the political spectrum. This claim was not denied by senior management at Facebook. This relationship included a portal where the FBI can request the deletion of “misinformation” and can access user information. How exactly is that the business of the FBI? One can argue that they are trying to limit the external governments from interfering with our politics. Have we gotten an update on how that effort is going? Maybe their time would be better served by looking at Chinese agents and Chinese money directly infiltrating members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. That seems a bit more important that fake news on Twitter (the national archive of fake news).
The Operation Bronze Griffin allegation is reinforced by testimony from Mark Zuckerburg that the FBI had contacted him regarding the “misinformation” on the Hunter Biden story that effected the 2020 election. Let us be clear; the FBI contacted a private media company and lied about what became the Hunter Biden laptop story, requesting that it not spread misinformation. This subversion of the 1st Amendment likely changed the outcome of a presidential election. Is anyone OK with that?
Many people would say that the sharing of user information with the FBI is a violation of social media user’s 4th Amendment rights. We should all be more concerned with the 1st Amendment. One of the most important concepts in 4th Amendment case law is “fruit of the poisonous tree”. Evidence gathered improperly is not admissible. Courts have ruled that police cannot subvert the 4th amendment by requesting a 3rd party gather evidence for them in lieu of a search warrant. This current FBI/social media communication is the same scenario only applied to the 1st Amendment. The FBI is using a 3rd party to restrict freedom of speech. This is the basis of a current lawsuit against the Biden Administration. Even the partisan ACLU is concerned with this development, tweeting that “The First Amendment bars the government from deciding for us what is true or false, online or anywhere. Our government can’t use private pressure to get around our constitutional rights.” This came after senior FBI official Laura Dehmlow stated in a meeting with Twitter and Chase Bank the “we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable” and “we need to educate the populace and that today critical thinking seems to be a problem”. Absolutely chilling.
The FBI has made numerous mistakes and downright lies over the past few years. From Russian Collusion, the failure to stop the January 6th disaster, to the opaque Hunter Biden investigation and seeming coverup. These types of shenanigans make COINTELPRO seem like the good old days. Meanwhile they are dropping the ball on serious criminal cases like the Parkland school shooting, the Pulse nightclub shooter, the Boston Marathon bombings, the Olympic sex abuse scandal, and many others. The FBI is a critical cog in the American justice system. The organization can handle cases that no other agency can. It is critical that the FBI have the faith of the American People. It is about time the lies and politics were removed from the Agency. The Federal Bureau of Investigation must return to its initial mandate of fighting crime and a complete overhaul may be necessary.