Is it time to shut down the FBI?

Posted: January 24, 2023 by chrisharper in Uncategorized
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By Christopher Harper

The FBI is one of the most ineffective police organizations in the world and should be put out of its misery.

Over the past 50 years, I had a variety of run-ins and interactions with the Feebs—none of which gave me some confidence about the bureau.

In 1971, the FBI brought me in for questioning. I had taken a photo of an old country bank for a college course, and I had the suspicious look of a college student.

In 1973, several dozen reporters, including me, walked through an FBI “lockdown” of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, where the American Indian Movement had set up a protest over U.S. government misdeeds toward Native Americans.

A few months later, I was reconstructing the events over the murder of Fred Hampton, a Black Panther who had been killed in Chicago by the FBI and local police.

As part of a counterintelligence program, known as COINTELPRO, the FBI had taken a keen interest in Hampton, a rising star in the Panther leadership. In the early morning of December 4, 1969, the FBI and the local cops shot and killed Hampton as he slept in an apartment. A later investigation found that only one shot had been fired from inside the apartment.

Fast forward to the Middle East. The FBI usually heads up the investigation when U.S. citizens and representatives die outside the country under suspicious circumstances.

In 1978, I was one of a handful of reporters who flew into the compound of Jim Jones and his followers, where more than 900 people had died. Surprisingly, only two local soldiers guarded the farming community, and it took days before the FBI secured the site.

The FBI also bungled investigations of the U.S. embassy attack in Beirut and the later bombing of the Marine compound in which 241 military personnel died. Again, I arrived a short time after these events and found that the FBI had failed to secure the locales and, subsequently, to find much actionable intelligence about what had happened and who was behind the attacks.

Although I had less contact with the FBI as I moved into academia, I was dumbstruck by the ineptitude before 9/11 and afterward. The political enmity toward Donald Trump and his allies underscored how poorly the FBI had served the country.

As Congress prepares to take a good, hard look at the FBI, the agency needs more than reform, and it may be time to shutter the doors and devise an entirely different approach to national policing.

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