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Once hated by the left, the FBI is now the evil demon of US conservatives

#hated #left #FBI #evil #demon #conservatives

Once hated by the left, the FBI is now the evil demon of US conservatives

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Once hated by the left, the FBI is now the evil demon of US conservatives


The Federal Bureau of Investigation seal on the FBI’s headquarters, the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington
AFP-ALMOND NGAN

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Agents at the US Federal Bureau of Investigation are used to criticism, but never in the agency’s history have they faced such attacks from conservatives after last week’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Florida home.

Throughout its more than 100-year history, the FBI has been challenged by Southerners who embraced racial segregation, civil rights activists who defended political activists, and particularly by African Americans whose 1960s liberation movement the agency treated as an acute national threat. upset.

But last week’s extraordinary threats have their roots in the FBI’s political base: conservative Republicans.

“The world is upside down,” said Kenneth O’Reilly, a retired University of Alaska historian who has written books on the FBI and politics.

According to O’Reilly, the FBI has historically been a “deeply conservative institution” with a bipartisan constituency in Washington.

But ever since Trump condemned the FBI as corrupt and fascist after it raided his Mar-a-Lago home for illegally-held top-secret documents on Aug. 8, the attacks have continued — and his supporters have fanned the flames.

Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel accused the bureau of “abuse of power.”


Pro-Trump supporters storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021
Getty Images via AFP – Samuel Corum

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Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, compared the agency to the secret police of a Marxist dictatorship, while Congressman Paul Gosar declared, “We must destroy the FBI.”

Online, including on Trump’s own network Truth Social, the threats were more violent – and became real.

On Aug. 11, a gunman, 42, attacked the FBI’s Cincinnati office after writing on social media accounts attributed to him that people were “reacting with violence” to the crackdown on Trump and “the FBI was going to react immediately.” should kill”.

The man failed to enter the Ohio city office and was later shot dead by police.

A day later, a 46-year-old man was arrested in Pennsylvania for making similar threats.

“If you work for the FBI you deserve to die,” he wrote on social media.

“My only goal is to kill more of them before I fall.”

– criticism, but no violence –

Long mythologized on film and television, the FBI — the storied home of the 1930s G-Men and the powerful, inscrutable J Edgar Hoover — has regularly drawn criticism from all quarters, O’Reilly told AFP.

“There was a huge backlash among Southern supremacists in the early ’60s against the FBI treating it like the Gestapo” when it investigated the lynchings of African Americans.


The US Criminal Investigation Agency has been attacked by conservatives after its agents vandalized Donald Trump’s home
AFP – Usman KHAN

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The worst period, O’Reilly said, was in the 1960s, when the FBI extensively spied on the civil rights movement, attempting to undermine the civil rights movement, slandering Martin Luther King Jr. and fomenting violence between rival groups to discredit them.

But the reactions then, said O’Reilly, who documented the FBI’s war on the black nationalist movement, were outrage and litigation and then a full-scale congressional investigation that uncovered the abuses.

“They had no violence against FBI agents,” he said.

– Popular support so far –

In 1995, FBI actions sparked a violent attack. Anti-government extremists bombed a federal agency building in Oklahoma City, which included the regional FBI headquarters, killing 168 people.

The two extremists were motivated in part by the FBI’s poor handling of two hostage-type sieges in 1992 and 1993, which ended deadly.

But through it all, the FBI retained universal political and popular support.

The current anti-FBI turn has its roots in Trump’s long struggle with the FBI’s investigations, and specifically the investigation into hundreds of his supporters who violently stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

For O’Reilly, it’s the open threats from Trump supporters and politicians that make the current moment shocking.

“I would guess that the overwhelming majority of FBI agents voted for Trump,” he said.

“So it’s just a crazy idea that the most conservative elements of the Republican Party see the FBI as a tool of the radical left.”

– climate of violence –

The strong response from US law enforcement to the threats was also extraordinary.

Fences were erected to protect FBI headquarters in Washington


Security fences outside the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC after threats mounted following the raid on Donald Trump’s home.
AFP-ALMOND NGAN

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“Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be of deep concern to all Americans,” warned FBI Director Chris Wray.

The Department of Homeland Security warned in a special bulletin that agents could be in danger.

“I can’t recall a threat stream like this in the last few years,” Brian O’Hare, the president of the FBI Agents Association, told NPR.

“It’s disturbing. It’s unacceptable. And it should be condemned by all who are aware,” he said.

“It’s a climate of acceptance of violence that needs to change.”

pmh/sst


Copyright AFP or Agence France-Presse, 2022.

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#hated #left #FBI #evil #demon #conservatives

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