Eric McDavid was just sentenced to 20 years in prison, as a “terrorist,” in a case that would never have been possible without a “confidential source” known only as Anna. She was paid by the FBI. She provided the group with bomb-making recipes; at times financed their transportation, food and housing; strung along McDavid, who had the hopes of a romantic relationship; and poked and prodded the group into action. In a rare declaration to the court, a former juror called the FBI an “embarrassment.”
Well, that former juror isn’t alone in her assessment of how the FBI plays fast and loose with the law in hopes of landing convictions. A 2005 analysis by the inspector general of the Justice Department, looking at 120 cases, found that FBI agents regularly ignore regulations for handling informants. The inspector general, Glenn A. Fine, found that:
FBI agents violated procedures in 87 percent of the cases, including some in which informants allegedly engaged in illegal activity without proper oversight or permission…
The inspector general also faulted the FBI for “consistently failing to obtain advance approval to listen in on informants’ conversations.”
The FBI attributed many mistakes to “complicated paperwork requirements,” and says the administrative errors have been corrected.
As we saw in the McDavid case, though, there’s much more going on at the FBI than paperwork problems. The use of Anna, a provocateur, wasn’t a clerical error. It was part of a deliberate, calculated, and coordinated effort to infiltrate activist groups and land “terrorism” convictions, even if it means breaking the rules and provoking criminal activity.
But now that Anna, the “eco-terrorism” informant, has had a profile in Elle, and says that she might be burned out, the feds might have a problem. Informants are “critical to the FBI’s ability to carry out our counterterrorism, national security and criminal law enforcement missions,” a top official said. And it looks like the FBI needs some new blood.
I got word from the Twin Cities Eco-Prisoner Support Committee that a local activist was approached by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and asked to become a paid informant. Here’s more from the activist about the encounter:
“Then for twenty minutes they flatter me about how my personality and appearance are perfect matches for what is required in some espionage dealio. They wanted me to crash vegan potluck parties and get into the inner circle of terrorists because supposedly terrorists are trusting and I’m “trustable, easy going, funny,” and a bunch of other flattery. Every time they said “vegan potluck” I chuckled, but their faces showed they weren’t kidding. They said “vegan potluck” half a dozen times. They really feared vegans and their violent conspiracies to blow up buildings in protest to the republican national convention.
So after twenty minutes of bewildering suckups, they ask me if I’m in. They say there’s compensation if I assist in someone’s arrest. I say “ummmmmmm I’ll pass.” She says, “That was the fastest anyone has ever rejected me,” and then tried for ten more minutes to get me to change my mind before saying, “Really: think about it. We could really use you.”
I wonder if this is what the FBI means when they say, “By working in domestic terrorism investigations, you get to see the First Amendment in action.”
But who am I kidding, forget the First Amendment. Getting paid to infiltrate vegan potlucks? That sounds like the best job ever! Of course, it might be hard to stomach the free food knowing that it’s wasting valuable anti-terrorism resources on harassing social justice groups, and that you’re violating people’s privacy and trust for a few bucks.
But if you find it hard to swallow that spying on vegan potlucks is part of the “number one domestic terrorism threat,” just remember folks like Anthony Bourdain who say vegetarians are “terrorist scum.” Just take a look at soft-core eco-terrorist propaganda like Hoot. And then perhaps you’ll become a true believer, convinced that this “War on Terrorism” is a culture war. After all, you must understand that tofu makes you gay.
I’m not one to judge. This is a tough call. I wish you all the best of luck in weighing Constitutional concerns against getting paid to eat TVP chili and, if you’re lucky, some chocolate-chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles.
If the FBI comes knocking on your door about potlucks and protests, call the National Lawyers’ Guild “Green Scare” Hotline, 888-NLG-ECOLAW, and let us know at GreenIsTheNewRed.com.