By: Eric Striker • Monday September 20, 2021
The Cato Institute is taking the FBI to court for its refusal to provide over a thousand documents on its domestic political surveillance program.
The public interest lawsuit seeks to force the FBI and Department of Justice to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made last year for 1,082 pages of documents related to legally dubious domestic intelligence gathering operations of political and civil society groups from 2013 to 2020.
Patrick Eddington, who is spearheading the effort, has so far published evidence of the FBI engaging in non-predicated “assessments” of conservative groups such as Concerned Women For America and organizations linked to the Palestinian cause like the Muslim Justice League. Eddington has reason to believe that what has been uncovered so far is only the tip of the iceberg.
The branch of the FBI responsible for providing FOIA documents responded to Eddington’s request in June 2020. The lawsuit states that while agreeing to comply with their legal obligations, the FBI has yet to produce a single document related to the request and told Eddington that he would have to wait five and a half years to see the files.
It should be noted that Cato’s legal efforts focus primarily on the methodology used by federal agents to decide which groups to target, not specific details on the particular groups they have targeted.
Evidence so far suggests that there is no objective oversight over the FBI’s activities in defense of civil liberties and that it operates more as a rogue political enforcement group instead of a law enforcement agency subject to typical checks and balances.
Following the 2016, the FBI decided to polarize public opinion for and against it, siding with liberals — who hold most of the institutional power in the US — who supported them during their attempted coup d’etat against Donald Trump, Operation Crossfire Hurricane.
The winds are starting to turn against them, however. The Larry Nasser scandal, where FBI agents engaged in a systematic cover up to protect a serial child molester, is only the latest embarrassment for the disgraced organization, with calls to depose director Christopher Wray growing.
Interestingly, both Democrats and Republicans in the House are increasing scrutiny on the out-of-control secret police force. While the mainstream media has typically refused to cover FBI shootings critically, the recent killing of a man in Oakland by an FBI agent under dubious circumstances is beginning to gain attention in some national outlets.