by James Bovard
Joe Biden won the 2020 election as a result of 43,000 votes in three states. The election was far closer than the media has usually admitted. There were plenty of dubious factors that could have tipped the scales for a Biden victory, including machinations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The long history of FBI abuse
Though the media usually portray the FBI as the ultimate good guys, the bureau has long history of intervening in presidential elections. Shortly after taking office after Franklin Roosevelt’s death, President Harry Truman commented in his diary: “We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail…. This must stop.” But FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover outfoxed Truman and every subsequent president.
In the 1948 presidential campaign, Hoover brazenly championed Republican candidate Thomas Dewey, leaking allegations that Truman was part of a corrupt Kansas City political machine. In 1952, Hoover sought to undermine Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson by spreading rumors that he was a closet homosexual.
In 1964, the FBI illegally wiretapped Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater’s presidential headquarters and plane and conducted background checks on his campaign staff for evidence of homosexual activity. The FBI also conducted an extensive surveillance operation at the 1964 Democratic National Convention to prevent embarrassing challenges to President Lyndon Johnson.
In 2016, the FBI whitewashed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, protecting her despite her various crimes regarding handling of classified information and destruction of emails and other evidence from her time as secretary of state. An Inspector General report revealed in 2018 that the key FBI agents in the investigations were raving partisans. “We’ll stop” Donald Trump from becoming president, lead FBI investigator Peter Strzok texted his mistress/girlfriend, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, in August 2016. One FBI agent labeled Trump supporters as “retarded” and declared “I’m with her” [Hillary Clinton]. Another FBI employee texted that “Trump’s supporters are all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS.” The FBI failed to make any audio or video recordings of its interviews with Clinton aides and staffers. It also delayed speaking to Clinton until the end of the investigation and planned to absolve her “absent a confession from Clinton,” the Inspector General noted.
The FBI failed to stop Trump from winning in 2016, but FBI officials devoted themselves to crippling his presidency with fabricated evidence implying that Russia had illicitly intervened in the presidential election. One top FBI lawyer was convicted for falsifying evidence to secure a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to target Trump campaign officials. FBI chief James Comey leaked official memos to friendly reporters, thereby spurring the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Trump. Mueller’s investigation generated endless allegations and controversies and helped Democrats capture control of the House of Representatives in 2018 prior to admitting in 2019 that there was no such Russian conspiracy. Not one FBI official has spent a single day in jail for the abuses.
The ongoing Hunter Biden laptop scandal
In December 2019, FBI agents came into possession of a laptop that Hunter Biden had abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop. That laptop was a treasure trove of crimes, including evidence that Hunter and other Bidens had collected millions in payments from foreign sources for providing access in Washington and other favors. That laptop provided ample documentation that Joe Biden could be compromised by foreign powers.
When news finally leaked out about the laptop in October 2020, 50 former intelligence officials effectively torpedoed the story by claiming that the laptop was a Russian disinformation ploy. The FBI knew that the laptop was bona fide but said nothing to undercut the falsehoods by the former spooks. The Justice Department commenced an investigation of Hunter Biden in 2019, but Attorney General William Barr made sure that information did not surface publicly before the 2020 election. (The investigation is ongoing.)
The FBI has continued its pro-Democrat campaigns
The FBI’s most brazen intervention in the 2020 election consisted of fabricating a ludicrous plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, one of Biden’s favorite governors. Michigan was a swing state in the election. Whitmer enraged many Michiganders by placing the entire state under house arrest after the outbreak of COVID-19. Anyone who left their home to visit family or friends risked a $1,000 fine, and business owners faced three years in prison for refusing to close their stores. Unemployment soared to 24 percent statewide, but Whitmer’s policies failed to prevent more than 2 million Michiganers from contracting COVID.
The FBI exploited the anger against Whitmer to try to add some scalps to their collection. A few weeks before the 2020 election, the FBI announced the arrests of individuals who had been lured by FBI informants and undercover agents to talk about capturing Whitmer and putting her on trial. After the arrests were announced, Whitmer speedily denounced Trump for inciting “domestic terrorism” and declared, “When our leaders meet with, encourage, and or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions. They are complicit.”
Joe Biden claimed that the arrests showed President Trump’s “tolerance of hate, vengeance, and lawlessness to plots such as this one.” Former FBI official Frank Figluzzi told MSNBC that Trump should be investigated for “aiding and abetting” the Michigan plot. Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe announced on CNN: “The person most responsible for fomenting this kind of unrest, this sort of division, this sort of violence in this country right now is the president of the United States.” Law professor Jonathan Turley noted:
The media went into a frenzy, declaring that the case proved that: ‘Trump’s rhetoric and policies have unleashed a second pandemic in the form of far-right domestic terrorism.’ The breathless accounts of this plot by three ‘Boogaloo’ militiamen fit like a glove with the narrative just before the election.
There was plenty of reason to doubt the plot from the start. As I noted in an American Institute for Economic Research article on the day after the arrests were announced, “The alleged Michigan plot is almost too idiotic to believe.”
A Michigan jury in April effectively concluded that the plotters had been entrapped in an FBI-fabricated plot. There were as many FBI informants and undercover agents involved in the plot as private citizens. From the start, the FBI steered the participants into saying and doing things that would supposedly seal their legal doom. Stephen Robeson, an FBI informant with a list of felonies and other crimes, organized key events to build the movement. Dan Chapel, another FBI informant who was paid $54,000, became second-in-command and masterminded the military training for the group, even as he helped the feds wiretap their messages.
FBI operatives took the participants, who prattled idiotically about stealing a Blackhawk helicopter, for drives near Whitmer’s vacation home, which supposedly proved they were going to nab the governor and unleash havoc. Shortly before that excursion, an FBI agent texted instructions to Chapel: “Mission is to kill the governor specifically.”
The conspiracy began unraveling even before the trial began in March. Robert Trask, the lead FBI agent and “the public face” of the kidnapping case, was fired after he was arrested for “beating his wife during an argument over an orgy that the two had attended at a hotel in Kalamazoo, Mich.,” the New York Times reported. Two other key FBI agents were sidelined from the case for misconduct (including creating a side hustle with their own cybersecurity firm).
Thanks to Supreme Court rulings minimizing entrapment defenses, federal Judge Robert Jonker blocked defense attorneys from informing the jury of almost all the evidence of federal misconduct in the Whitmer case.
As BuzzFeed’s Ken Bensinger reported, the jury refused to convict “despite the government’s extraordinary efforts to muzzle the defense…. Prosecutors went to extraordinary lengths to exclude evidence and witnesses that might undermine their arguments, while winning the right to bring in almost anything favorable to their own side.” BuzzFeed also noted that the judge “ruled that defendants could not inquire about the past conduct of several FBI agents, though the government would be allowed to question the defendants about episodes in their own past.”
The jury saw enough to smell a federal rat. As Turley wrote:
The Whitmer conspiracy was a production written, funded, and largely populated by FBI agents and informants. At every point, FBI literally drove the conspirators and controlled their actions. That is worthy of investigation by Congress, but neither house seems even marginally interested.
The Michigan jury verdict spurred plenty of howls by the friends of Leviathan. Former Justice Department lawyer Barbara McQuade lamented, “This verdict concerns me because it could embolden other anti-government extremists to engage in dangerous conduct in the name of vigilante justice. In a time when we see a growing number of threats of violence against public officials, it is important to hold such conduct accountable.” But the establishment media has perennially disregarded holding government officials accountable for violating Americans’ rights.
The ongoing FBI threat to liberty
Shortly before the Michigan trial began, the New York Times noted that it was “being closely watched as one of the most significant recent domestic terrorism cases, a test of Washington’s commitment in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol to pursue far-right groups who seek to kindle a violent, anti-government insurgency or even a new civil war.” FBI chief Christopher Wray told Congress last year that the FBI has 2,000 ongoing domestic terrorism investigations. How many additional crimes or conspiracies is the FBI fomenting at this moment? Will Americans ever learn what role, if any, the FBI had in goading some of those arrested in the Jan. 6 Capitol clash into committing a crime? And what about Team Biden’s efforts to continually expand the definition of “dangerous extremist” to sanctify its power? Last June, the Biden administration revealed that guys who can’t get laid may be terrorist threats due to “involuntary celibate–violent extremism.” No wonder the terrorist watch list is expanding at breakneck pace.
The Founding Fathers wisely did not create a national police force, but federal law-enforcement agencies have multiplied like mushrooms. Almost 100 years ago, the American Civil Liberties Union warned that the FBI had become “a secret police system of a political character.” Neither Congress nor federal courts have since effectively reined in the most powerful domestic federal agency. What mischief will the FBI commit to influence future elections? And what are the odds that Americans will know about it before the polling booths close?
This article was originally published in the July 2022 edition of Future of Freedom.