Why the FBI Has Always Been a Political Tool of Suppression
By The Daily Bell Staff - May 13, 2017

There is a dangerous myth that permeates the political arena that government agencies and bureaucrats can somehow be non-political and independent.

How absurd. On the one hand, there are obvious political appointments, like Eric Holder as Attorney General under Obama, or Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State under Trump. Each was clearly chosen to advance the interests of the President, Holder for his radical leftist views and Tillerson for his business ties.

And then there are scarily independent agencies like the CIA and NSA who pretty much do whatever they want, regardless of who heads the Department.

But the FBI is a sketchy mix of independence and politics, and it always has been. From its inception, the first FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover made the agency a hotbed of political suppression, arresting anarchists and communists sometimes without warrants, and deporting thousands of immigrants based on minimal evidence of subversion.

But that’s not how the mainstream media is selling it. Will Trump Be The First to Politicize the FBI? asks Politico Magazine. Their concern is that Trump might appoint someone to the position with a political background, rather than a law enforcement background.

From its founding over a century ago until Tuesday afternoon, when James Comey was summarily fired as director, the FBI has been led exclusively by nonpartisan career law enforcement professionals with no background in elected politics.

The bureau, in fact, has been perhaps the last bastion of nonpolitical leadership in Washington—an agency whose powers are so extensive and potentially damaging to American citizens that it has been kept clear of direct political influence.

Of course, this statement is ridiculous, you cannot separate a government agency from politics. They are conflating not having been elected with being nonpartisan or apolitical

If anything the “independence” of the agency is a political wildcard. It wasn’t for political purposes that the FBI sent a letter to Martin Luther King Jr. encouraging him to kill himself?

But really Politico inadvertently touches on the main problem with the FBI: it was created to target Americans domestically. The FBI was given broad powers that were not just “potentially damaging to American citizens,” that is exactly who they targeted.

Hoover compiled a list of disloyal Americans after WWII and had a plan, which was never put into practice, to suspend habeas corpus and detain thousands of Americans for not being loyal enough to the United States government. For being a “nonpolitical” leader, he certainly did a lot to suppress political opposition to those in power.

But Hoover was just doing the only thing he knew. That is how he started in government, during WWI.

President Woodrow Wilson created the political monster, appointing Hoover to the War Emergency Board during WWI and tasking him with arresting foreigners without trial who seemed disloyal to the United States. The raids took place without search warrants, and even though Hoover was the man behind the “Palmer Raids” he escaped the political backlash and was even appointed to clean up the Bureau which would become the Federal Burea of Investigation.

J. Edgar Hoover shaped the FBI to be the organization it is today.

…he created the Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO. The group conducted a series of covert, and oftentimes illegal, investigations designed to discredit or disrupt radical political organizations…

Hoover also used COINTELPRO’s operations to conduct his own personal vendettas against political adversaries in the name of national security…

In 1971, COINTELPRO’s tactics were revealed to the public, showing that the agency’s methods included infiltration, burglaries, illegal wiretaps, planted evidence and false rumors leaked on suspected groups and individuals. Despite the harsh criticism Hoover and the Bureau received, he remained its director until his death on May 2, 1972, at the age of 77.

So what’s all this silliness from Politico claiming that the FBI has never been a politicized organization? Anything that Hoover did to “remove politics” from the organization simply gave him all the more power to play politics. He wasn’t making the agency immune to political influence, he was ensuring the agency only responded to his own political influence.

Politico actually recognizes the fact that Hoover abused his power at the FBI, but still, goes on to say the organization has never been political.

The FBI’s power over the life, freedom and liberty of the American people is unparalleled in U.S. government, and at key points in the bureau’s history—from Hoover’s attempts to blackmail Martin Luther King Jr., to its pursuit of political activists in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s —we have seen the cost of the FBI’s abuse of Americans’ civil liberties…

In the FBI’s entire centurylong history, it has never had an expressly political director. Hoover, for all his machinations as director, had actually spent his career at the Justice Department.

Politico talks about finding a director who is above reproach, who has a stellar record, and who will keep the agency independent, and trustworthy. Their solution is to simply find someone who is non-partisan, and who has always worked in the Justice Department… just like J. Edgar Hoover.

But wait, isn’t J. Edgar Hoover the main example of a guy we don’t want running the FBI? Even while fitting all the criteria Politico lays out for who would be the perfect independent head of the agency?

Perhaps their definition of the term political is different than ours, but in that case, what does it matter if the FBI Director is political or not? What matters is if the FBI can abuse their power, which they clearly can. That is a great reason to abolish the agency altogether, not to simply choose a director who has never been in electoral politics.

As Milton Friedman said, “Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest? …I think you’re taking a lot of things for granted. Just tell me where in the world you find these angels who are going to organize society for us?”

If a political organization requires the right person in power in order to not be corrupt, then it is a bad organization. It is dangerous, and should not exist because it is impossible to find angels to put into those positions of power.

Perhaps the mainstream media is more concerned over who will be targeted by the FBI. Maybe Politico is not afraid of the FBI targeting innocent Americans. The FBI started as a tool of the government to use against the civilians; it has always been that way.

But what if it turned into a tool of one government faction to be used against another political faction?

Politico’s article could be summed up like this:

The FBI has long been an enemy of the citizens of the United States and abused their authority by suppressing dissent and intimidating political opposition to the government. But now, the FBI risks becoming the exclusive tool of one political party, at which point others in government and politics may be targeted! Can’t we all agree that the proper target of the FBI is the peasantry and not the political classes?

The FBI has always been political, and always will be. Trump’s choice will not be inherently better or worse for the American people than picking someone who is not a politician. But Trump’s choice will be pretty scary for those in the government on the left.

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  • Dimitri Ledkovsky

    Post Hoover prerequisite for FBI directorship was knowledge and practice of cross-dressing.

    • Sheila

      Clothes make the man, don’t they?

  • Jim

    Diligent research reveals that the FBI was not created by the Congress. It was created by the Department of Justice as an Internal Affairs for the federal government.

  • John Lock

    The very progressive Wilson appointed him to the first power he had and they abused all forms of citizens just for their color or national origin. Would you current day Progressives support that again?

    • esqualido

      Progressive? Does this sound progressive:
      1. Signing into law the IRS (“Only the richest will have to pay taxes” (whereas, the truth today is only the richest do not have to pay taxes)
      2. Signing into law the Federal Reserve Act, leading to today’s development of the “Too-big-to-fail” banks (which- surprise- own the Fed, and obtain virtually-interest-free loans from it while charging their cardholders 25%+ APR), not to mention enabling the growth of national debt from a few billion in 1913 to 20 trillion today
      3. Assiduously working behind the scenes with Secretary of War Newton Baker to arrange for the draft (including secretly having millions of draft registration forms printed up and hidden in the D.C. post office in advance, with no consultation with or appropriation by Congress), and having run on a platform to keep us out of war.
      4.The Palmer Raids and other gross abuses of civil liberties in WWI
      5. Tacitly supporting the activities of the Ku-Klux Clan
      i.e., about as progressive as Obama’s Affordable Care Act was affordable.

    • Sheila

      Do you even need to ask?

  • autonomous

    “If a political organization requires the right person in power in order to not be corrupt, then it is a bad organization.”
    Amen! If it’s FEDERAL it’s designed for centralizing control, just as if it’s CENTRAL.

  • esqualido

    Nice piece of reporting, Joe – keep up the good work.

  • Albert Marinello

    They even put Pete Seeger on their hit list.


  • Aristaeus

    FBI History

    “The technological revolution was contributing to crime as well. 1908 was the year that Henry Ford’s Model T first began rolling off assembly lines in Motor City, making automobiles affordable to the masses and attractive commodities for thugs and hoodlums, who would soon begin buying or stealing them to elude authorities and move about the country on violent crime sprees. Twenty-two years later, on a dusty Texas back road, Bonnie and Clyde—“Romeo and Juliet in a Getaway Car,” as one journalist put it—would meet their end in a bullet-ridden Ford.

    Just around the corner, too, was the world’s first major global war—compelling America to protect its homeland from both domestic subversion and international espionage and sabotage. America’s approach to national security, once the province of cannons and warships, would never be the same again.

    Despite it all, in the year 1908 there was hardly any systematic way of enforcing the law across this now broad landscape of America. Local communities and even some states had their own police forces, but at that time they were typically poorly trained, politically appointed, and underpaid. And nationally, there were few federal criminal laws and likewise only a few thinly staffed federal agencies like the Secret Service in place to tackle national crime and security issues.

    One of these issues was anarchism—an often violent offshoot of Marxism, with its revolutionary call to overthrow capitalism and bring power to the common man. Anarchists took it a step further—they wanted to do away with government entirely. The prevailing anarchistic creed that government was oppressive and repressive, that it should be overthrown by random attacks on the ruling class (including everyone from police to priests to politicians), was preached by often articulate spokesmen and women around the world. There were plenty who latched onto the message, and by the end of the nineteenth century, several world leaders were among those who had been assassinated.

    The anarchists, in a sense, were the first modern-day terrorists—banding together in small, isolated groups around the world; motivated by ideology; bent on bringing down the governments they hated. But they would, ironically, hasten into being the first force of federal agents that would later become the FBI.”

    Teddy Roosevelt and the Progressives
    A central issue for the FBI is to hunt down people who “counterfeit” the “elastic money” created by the Federal Reserve System and IRS tax evaders. That’s the primary job of the FBI.

    FBI – Hunt down counterfeiters of counterfeiters and make them pay! Damned Anarchists who want to live in an honest free market society.

  • teabagger_1

    I am finishing David Grann’s book The Killers of The Flower moon. (The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI). An interesting tale of greed, racism and murder. The book delves deeply into Hoover, the FBI and the very good agents that investigated the murders. The agents being a mix of college educated investigators using modern science and forensics to the former Texas Rangers with a lot of experience in understanding and hunting down bad-ass criminals. Hoover was so concerned about his and the bureaus image that he became ruthlessly and obsessively hard on his agents. Especially if they failed or tarnished the bureau’s image as he felt strongly that it reflected on him. He was mostly concerned about solving cases so that he wouldn’t be considered a failure. In his obsession for success he discontinued the Osage investigation when they eventually convicted some of the local players. Case closed in Hoover’s eyes even though the agents felt that there was a larger conspiracy that went beyond the local hoodlums that were convicted. His image was saved and as far as Hoover was concerned, He had a successful first go as director of the fledgling FBI. Hoover had files on most politicians and presidents which pretty much gave him job security for life. It is a great read and would recommend it for a perspective on the Murders and the FBI.
    As for Comey, he was ineffectual. The Boston bombing, Orlando massacre and San Bernardino killings were under his watch. These people were under surveillance prior to the killings. Some one dropped the ball. Perhaps as a “means to an end”. Comey’s biggest accomplishment was prosecuting that real threat to society, Martha Stewart when he was a U S attorney in . 2004

  • MountainMan

    The staff article is quite right. It is not the job of the FBI to “solve crimes.” It is the job of the FBI to harass and intimidate enemies of the current regime.

    • tommy tunes

      A very good article about a very enduring and troublesome problem for Americans: the FBI ….. I would add to the list of ” Troublesome Agencies ” the Environmentally ideologically politicized EPA , Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management that is the agencies that are involved in the ” Sue and Settle Strategies ” that works around the people Congress to come up with and install regulations that Suppress and Oppress the peoples Liberties and when people rebel the FBI is summoned to come take you out for your dissent …case in point Lavoy Finicum , the Bundys, and other producers that use resources that are permitted by Government . So is Government in the right position to be controlling resources that sustain or can be used to Oppress the Lives of PEOPLE for Political reasons like how the environmental communities are used to divide the people from the resources for Environmental reasons ?

      • Charlie

        I agree

    • Charlie

      so who will keep the drug cartels and terriosts in a somewhat checked position your local sheriff?

      • MountainMan

        Not the FBI, that’s for sure!

  • rsanchez1

    “Can’t we all agree that the proper target of the FBI is the peasantry and not the political classes?”

    YES! This is great stuff. That sentence there summarizes the fear of everyone in DC. They’re scared Trump will be serious about actually draining the swamp.

    “Trump’s choice will be pretty scary for those in the government on the left.”

    Not only on the left, but anyone in the entrenched, unelected government bureaucracy – the people who are “apolitical” because in the end they control both parties anyway – will be scared of Trump’s choice. Probably the only choice who won’t face stiff opposition in the Senate is Andrew McCabe…