Among the worst mistakes America has ever made is to bring into existence the Federal Bureau of Investigation — the FBI.
A national police force is an essential part of any tyrannical regime. Just look at any tyrannical foreign regime, either right wing and left wing, over the past 100 years. I will guarantee you that you will find a national police force. It serves as a useful adjunct to a big military-intelligence establishment to keep people in line.
Of course, we are all familiar with such things as COINTELPRO and the FBI’s murder of innocent people at Waco and Ruby Ridge. We are also familiar with the FBI’s fierce opposition to Martin Luther King and the civll-rights movement as well as the virtual certainty that the FBI orchestrated King’s murder. We are also familiar with former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s longtime penchant for keeping secret files on people’s personal lives with the aim of blackmailing them into supporting whatever the FBI wants. We are also familiar with the FBI’s ardent support of the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the anti-communist crusade. We are also familiar with the FBI’s active role in America’s political system.
Less familiar is the FBI’s ubiquitous practice of inducing people to commit crimes in order to justify its continued existence and its continued receipt of taxpayer-funded largess. That practice involves entrapping people into committing crimes and then proudly patting itself on the back for “keeping America safe” by supposedly busting dangerous criminals.
An example of this sordid practice is detailed in a January 19, 2024, article in the New York Times that involved four men whose lives were partially destroyed by the FBI as part of its attempt to make itself look good by creating and encouraging a crime supposedly committed by those four men.
The four men — James Cromitie, Laguerre Payen, David Williams and Onta Williams — were from Newburgh, New York, and became known as the “Newburgh Four.” Given the FBI’s history of viewing Martin Luther King and the civil-rights movement as communist agents, it’s not surprising that the FBI targeted four Black men for its entrapment scheme. The fact that they were poor also figured into the FBI’s plot, given that the FBI used the lure of big amounts of taxpayer money to induce the men to commit a crime.
The scheme was part of the FBI’s post-9/11 plot to invent criminal conspiracies to commit terrorist attacks. That’s what the FBI did with the Newburgh Four. The FBI used the services of an informant named Shahed Hussain. The FBI had Hussain infiltrate various mosques and identify poor people who could be induced to engage in acts of terrorism. That would enable the FBI to exclaim, “We’ve busted terrorists! We’re keeping you safe! Give us more taxpayer money!”
Hussain promised the Newburgh Four $250,000 if they would agree to participate in a terrorist plot. After several months of refusing the offer, the four black men, at least one of whom was unemployed and broke, agreed to participate in bomb plots at various synagogues.
The men were busted and given 25-year jail sentences. They had served 14 years in jail until a heroic federal judge recently ordered their release. As reported in the New York Times article, the judge, Colleen McMahon, called the case “notorious.” She pointed out that “nothing about the crimes of conviction” had been of the “defendants’ own making.” She pointed out that the FBI’s agent in the crime, Shahed Hussain, was a “small time grifter and petty drug dealer.”
Judge McMahon correctly pointed out that the “real lead conspirator was the United States.” She added, “The F.B.I. invented the conspiracy; identified the targets; manufactured the ordnance.” The New York Times pointed out that McMahon added that the FBI “federalized” the charges — ensuring long prison terms — by driving several of the men into Connecticut to view the “bombs.”
After 14 years in jail on FBI-manufactured crimes, the Newburgh Four are free. But the best way to ensure that the FBI doesn’t destroy other people’s lives is to abolish it. Its dismantling would go a long way toward restoring freedom and justice in America. Anyway, criminal justice belongs at the state and local level, not the federal level.