On Monday, The Daily Beast’s Jeff Stein asked “Can U.S. Spy Agencies Stop White Terror?” where he explored whether a government apparatus should be established for use against domestic terrorism.
Calls of this nature – to essentially conduct a ‘War on Terror,’ only this time targeting American citizens supposedly suspected of ‘extremist’ activity – have radically increased since the violent protests at the U.S. Capitol.
Stein explores different scenarios and speaks with different experts about the possibility of constructing extra-constitutional departments and expanding the intelligence community’s domestic spy capabilities.
The author interviews “a highly decorated FBI senior liaison officer to the CIA from 2003 to 2013,” Timothy Gill, who says the creation of an American version of Britain’s MI5 is “long past due.”
Gill doesn’t care if an American MI5 is created within the FBI or independent of it, because the bureau “needs to become more of a domestic intelligence agency and not a federal law enforcement entity.”
Stein writes that according to Gill, “The FBI has a culture problem that prevents it from fully embracing the nitty-gritty work of intelligence gathering, analysis and sharing, at least when it comes to domestic terrorism, which the FBI (along with DHS) has labelled the greatest threat to national security, he says.”
Gill said (emphasis added), “Although it took significant steps in improving intelligence gathering and analysis on all international and domestic terrorism issues following 9/11, it still needs to transform its culture of a being a primary law enforcement entity into becoming a domestic intelligence agency.“
So eight years after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S, government had been mass surveilling all Americans, some believe the Deep State needs even more power.
So long as it’s used against the “right” targets, of course.
Stein claims in his piece, “Last week, America’s security agencies were again caught flat footed when another kind of militant wave, this time pro-Trump fanatics, stormed and trashed the citadel of American democracy, nearly executing what al-Qaeda had failed to do, destroy the U.S. Capitol.”
Stein observes, “Democrats in Congress are teeing up another round of investigations and commissions to get to the bottom of the January 6 insurrection, which will almost certainly revisit the thorny question of whether the U.S. needs an independent counter-subversion agency to infiltrate and neutralize armed domestic extremists…”
While actual extremists or actual threats should be dealt with firmly, the notion of conducting a ‘War on Terror’ on American citizens is a recipe to violate civil liberties and U.S. citizens most basic freedoms – ranging from freedom of speech and the right to assemble to Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure.
This is something the left and the intelligence community is becoming more keen on. The ‘Deep State’ could get deeper.
The obvious second question to ask is, who will be targeted?
We have seen an effort by some on the left to paint regular, everyday Trump supporters as “extremists.”
Far-left Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently called for the government to “deprogram” both “white supremacists” and “conspiracy theorists.”
AOC was pretty clear on who those people are: Trump supporters.
The New York posts reports, “She said the conspiracy theory wrongly pushed by Trump that the election was stolen from him radicalized his supporters who invaded the Capitol last week.”
The Washington Post ran an article with the headline, “The seditionists made clear what their attack was about: White supremacy”.
In the piece, author Jen Rubin argues, “The code words “defending Western civilization” or “war on Christians” are fig leaves meant to disguise Trump followers’ conviction that White Christians are the “real Americans.”
Foreign Policy ran a piece entitled, “White Supremacy Created the Capitol Assault”.
Is the picture becoming more clear? It seems obvious.
Regular, run-of-the-mill conservative views are painted as extreme, ‘white supremacist’ views, and bingo.
We can’t just let extreme white supremacists go about their business willy-nilly, can we?
Not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi are calling for a “9/11 style commission” to investigate the Capitol riots, claiming that those that took part in the riot were “Putin’s puppets.”
If we didn’t need War on Terror-style action against extremist white supremacists, surely no one could argue against rooting out secret Russian agents.
Progressive journalist Glenn Greenwald has been outspoken against calls for the U.S. government to begin targeting citizens for surveillance.
On Monday in response to officials calling for a “9/11 Commission” for domestic extremism, Greenwald pointed out, “The more explicit they make it that they’re using the first War on Terror model for their new one domestically, the better.”
“Please keep up this candor,” Greenwald added.
The ‘War on Terror’ waged after 9/11 was responsible for too many violations of the Constitution and basic rights to list here.
But Greenwald is right that framing any war on U.S. citizens in the same way will only serve as a reminder of what politicians have in store for everyday Americans.
This could get worse before it gets better. Guard your liberty. Jealously.
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