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America’s Gestapo: The FBI’s Reign of Terror


This article was written by John Whitehead and originally published at The Rutherford Institute

We want no Gestapo or secret police. The FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail. J. Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him.”

—President Harry S. Truman

Don’t Be a Puppet” is the message the FBI is sending young Americans.

As part of the government’s so-called ongoing war on terror, the nation’s de facto secret police force is now recruiting students and teachers to spy on each other and report anyone who appears to have the potential to be “anti-government” or “extremist.”

Using the terms “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” interchangeably, the government continues to add to its growing list of characteristics that could distinguish an individual as a potential domestic terrorist.

For instance, you might be a domestic terrorist in the eyes of the FBI (and its network of snitches) if you:

  • express libertarian philosophies (statements, bumper stickers)
  • exhibit Second Amendment-oriented views (NRA or gun club membership)
  • read survivalist literature, including apocalyptic fictional books
  • show signs of self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies)
  • fear an economic collapse
  • buy gold and barter items
  • subscribe to religious views concerning the book of Revelation
  • voice fears about Big Brother or big government
  • expound about constitutional rights and civil liberties
  • believe in a New World Order conspiracy

Despite its well-publicized efforts to train students, teachers, police officers, hairdressers, store clerks, etc., into government eyes and ears, the FBI isn’t relying on a nation of snitches to carry out its domestic spying.

There’s no need.

The nation’s largest law enforcement agency rivals the NSA in resources, technology, intelligence, and power. Yet while the NSA has repeatedly come under fire for its domestic spying programs, the FBI has continued to operate its subversive and clearly unconstitutional programs with little significant oversight or push-back from the public, Congress or the courts. Just recently, for example, a secret court gave the agency the green light to quietly change its privacy rules for accessing NSA data on Americans’ international communications.

Indeed, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the FBI has become the embodiment of how power, once acquired, can be easily corrupted and abused.

When and if a true history of the FBI is ever written, it will not only track the rise of the American police state but it will also chart the decline of freedom in America.

Owing largely to the influence and power of the FBI, the United States—once a nation that abided by the rule of law and held the government accountable for its actions—has steadily devolved into a police state where justice is one-sided, a corporate elite runs the show, representative government is a mockery, police are extensions of the military, surveillance is rampant, privacy is extinct, and the law is little more than a tool for the government to browbeat the people into compliance.

The FBI’s laundry list of crimes against the American people includes surveillance, disinformation, blackmail, entrapment, intimidation tactics, harassment and indoctrination, governmental overreach, abuse, misconduct, trespassing, enabling criminal activity, and damaging private property.

And that’s just based on what we know.

Whether the FBI is planting undercover agents in churches, synagogues and mosques; issuing fake emergency letters to gain access to Americans’ phone records; using intimidation tactics to silence Americans who are critical of the government; recruiting high school students to spy on and report fellow students who show signs of being future terrorists; or persuading impressionable individuals to plot acts of terror and then entrapping them, the overall impression of the nation’s secret police force is that of a well-dressed thug, flexing its muscles and doing the boss’ dirty work of ensuring compliance, keeping tabs on potential dissidents, and punishing those who dare to challenge the status quo.

The FBI was established in 1908 as a small task force assigned to deal with specific domestic crimes. Initially quite limited in its abilities to investigate so-called domestic crimes, the FBI has been transformed into a mammoth federal policing and surveillance agency. Unfortunately, whatever minimal restrictions kept the FBI’s surveillance activities within the bounds of the law all but disappeared in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The USA Patriot Act gave the FBI and other intelligence agencies carte blanche authority in investigating Americans suspected of being anti-government.

As the FBI’s powers have grown, its abuses have mounted.

The FBI continues to monitor Americans engaged in lawful First Amendment activities.

COINTELPRO, the FBI program created to “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and neutralize” groups and individuals the government considers politically objectionable, was aimed not so much at the criminal element but at those who challenged the status quo—namely, those expressing anti-government sentiments such as Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lennon. It continues to this day, albeit in other guises.

The FBI has become a master in the art of entrapment.

In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks the FBI has not only targeted vulnerable individuals but has also lured them into fake terror plots while actually equipping them with the organization, money, weapons and motivation to carry out the plots—entrapment—and then jailing them for their so-called terrorist plotting. This is what the FBI characterizes as “forward leaning—preventative—prosecutions.”

FBI agents are among the nation’s most notorious lawbreakers.

In addition to creating certain crimes in order to then “solve” them, the FBI also gives certain informants permission to break the law, “including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies,” in exchange for their cooperation on other fronts. USA Today estimates that agents have authorized criminals to engage in as many as 15 crimes a day. Some of these informants are getting paid astronomical sums: one particularly unsavory fellow, later arrested for attempting to run over a police officer, was actually paid $85,000 for his help laying the trap for an entrapment scheme.

The FBI’s powers, expanded after 9/11, have given its agents carte blanche access to Americans’ most personal information.

The agency’s National Security Letters, one of the many illicit powers authorized by the USA Patriot Act, allows the FBI to secretly demand that banks, phone companies, and other businesses provide them with customer information and not disclose the demands. An internal audit of the agency found that the FBI practice of issuing tens of thousands of NSLs every year for sensitive information such as phone and financial records, often in non-emergency cases, is riddled with widespread violations.

The FBI’s spying capabilities are on a par with the NSA.

The FBI’s surveillance technology boasts an invasive collection of spy tools ranging from Stingray devices that can track the location of cell phones to Triggerfish devices which allow agents to eavesdrop on phone calls.  In one case, the FBI actually managed to remotely reprogram a “suspect’s” wireless internet card so that it would send “real-time cell-site location data to Verizon, which forwarded the data to the FBI.”

The FBI’s hacking powers have gotten downright devious.

FBI agents not only have the ability to hack into any computer, anywhere in the world, but they can also control that computer and all its stored information, download its digital contents, switch its camera or microphone on or off and even control other computers in its network. Given the breadth of the agency’s powers, the showdown between Apple and the FBI over customer privacy appears to be more spectacle than substance.

James Comey, current director of the FBI, knows enough to say all the right things about the need to abide by the Constitution, all the while his agency routinely discards it. Comey argues that the government’s powers shouldn’t be limited, especially when it comes to carrying out surveillance on American citizens. Comey continues to lobby Congress and the White House to force technology companies such as Apple and Google to keep providing the government with backdoor access to Americans’ cell phones.

The FBI’s reach is more invasive than ever.

This is largely due to the agency’s nearly unlimited resources (its minimum budget alone in fiscal year 2015 was $8.3 billion), the government’s vast arsenal of technology, the interconnectedness of government intelligence agencies, and information sharing through fusion centers—data collecting intelligence agencies spread throughout the country that constantly monitor communications (including those of American citizens), everything from internet activity and web searches to text messages, phone calls and emails.

Today, the FBI employs more than 35,000 individuals and operates more than 56 field offices in major cities across the U.S., as well as 400 resident agencies in smaller towns, and more than 50 international offices. In addition to their “data campus,” which houses more than 96 million sets of fingerprints from across the United States and elsewhere, the FBI is also, according to The Washington Post, “building a vast repository controlled by people who work in a top-secret vault on the fourth floor of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington. This one stores the profiles of tens of thousands of Americans and legal residents who are not accused of any crime. What they have done is appear to be acting suspiciously to a town sheriff, a traffic cop or even a neighbor.”

If there’s one word to describe the FBI’s covert tactics, it’s creepy.

The agency’s biometric database has grown to massive proportions, the largest in the world, encompassing everything from fingerprints, palm, face and iris scans to DNA, and is being increasingly shared between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an effort to target potential criminals long before they ever commit a crime.

This is what’s known as pre-crime.

If it were just about fighting the “bad guys,” that would be one thing. But as countless documents make clear, the FBI has no qualms about using its extensive powers in order to blackmail politicians, spy on celebrities and high-ranking government officials, and intimidate dissidents of all stripes.

It’s an old tactic, used effectively by former authoritarian regimes.

In fact, as historian Robert Gellately documents, the Nazi police state was repeatedly touted as a model for other nations to follow, so much so that Hoover actually sent one of his right-hand men, Edmund Patrick Coffey, to Berlin in January 1938 at the invitation of Germany’s secret police. As Gellately noted, “[A]fter five years of Hitler’s dictatorship, the Nazi police had won the FBI’s seal of approval.”

Indeed, so impressed was the FBI with the Nazi order that, as the New York Times revealed, in the decades after World War II, the FBI, along with other government agencies, aggressively recruited at least a thousand Nazis, including some of Hitler’s highest henchmen, brought them to America, hired them on as spies and informants, and then carried out a massive cover-up campaign to ensure that their true identities and ties to Hitler’s holocaust machine would remain unknown. Moreover, anyone who dared to blow the whistle on the FBI’s illicit Nazi ties found himself spied upon, intimidated, harassed and labeled a threat to national security.

So not only have American taxpayers been paying to keep ex-Nazis on the government payroll for decades but we’ve been subjected to the very same tactics used by the Third Reich: surveillance, militarized police, overcriminalization, and a government mindset that views itself as operating outside the bounds of the law.

This is how freedom falls, and tyrants come to power.

The similarities between the American police state and past totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany grow more pronounced with each passing day.

Secret police. Secret courts. Secret government agencies. Surveillance. Intimidation. Harassment. Torture. Brutality. Widespread corruption. Entrapment. Indoctrination. These are the hallmarks of every authoritarian regime from the Roman Empire to modern-day America.

Yet it’s the secret police—tasked with silencing dissidents, ensuring compliance, and maintaining a climate of fear—who sound the death knell for freedom in every age.


Brandon Smith


  1. Chilling. This clarifies the actions by the FBI in Burns, Oregon. Either Congress needs to reign them in, or shut the Agency down. They are not our neighbors, they are like robots. We are in big trouble here.

    1. Speaking of Burns, did we ever get clarification as to what took the aerial footage of the roadblock? Was it taken from a UAV, and if so what agency did it belong to? I read one story that it was a UAV flown out of Northern California but it didn’t say who it belonged to, and I wasn’t convinced the story was reliable.

      Forgive me if I’m veering off topic, but if we have the FBI ordering up a CIA ‘drone’ out of an Air Force base in a neighboring state to help stop a citizen who has never fired a shot in anger we’re in bigger trouble than I thought.

  2. “… the nation’s de facto secret police force is now recruiting students and teachers to spy on each other and report anyone who appears to have the potential to be “anti-government” or “extremist.””

    Basically these actions on the part of the FBI is teaching those that attend our colleges, universities that the people who SERVE WITHIN our government are the government and that is a lie, it is treason of the highest order, and misuse of education to re-education.

    Don’t let it confuse you, the people who SERVE WITHIN our government are employees at ALL levels be they elected, hired, contracted, etc.

    Read the US Constitution as it is our government in that IT defines it, delegates the authorities assigned to the branches and the specifically named offices – notice that it is NOT delegated to the people who serve within it, they are ALLOWED to use it because of the position, branch they work under as long as they do the duties as assigned and TAKE and KEEP the Oath (the requirements of all who serve) – places the limits, etc.

    The FBI is another “agency” that the US Constitution forbids. It is doing the duties of the people themselves are required to do as the Militia.

    “Owing largely to the influence and power of the FBI, the United States—once a nation that abided by the rule of law and held the government accountable for its actions—has steadily devolved into a police state …”

    Which IS treason against the American people, the US Constitution.

    Those that serve within the FBI, CIA, BLM, etc in any capacity are required to read the US Constitution and take and Oath to “support it and defend it” above all things including the orders of superiors, the duties of the position being occupied. Yet not one person serving does those things.

    Think about it.

    If they wanted to LAWFULLY do what they are doing – minus the unlawful things such as no warrants being used, etc – they would be the Militia of their state. Without the FBI, CIA, BLM, DHS, TSA, etc, etc, etc there could be no destruction of America from within.

    Those that serve within those agencies have willingly sold out America for a paycheck, they are the traitors, just not prosecuted yet. Read the Oath(s), what are those that serve within the executive branch supposed to be doing? Those things are all in writing. Heck, the Oaths are listed here, read them.

    “The agency’s National Security Letters, one of the many illicit powers authorized by the USA Patriot Act,…”

    That one act alone is proof that they are traitors to Americans, the US Constitution, and the USA because the Patriot Act in and of itself is NOT constitutional, it and those who created it, and those who IMPLEMENT it are traitors, and are THE *terrorists being used against us.

    *28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

    The fact that ANYONE who believes in the US Constitution and is its supporter would behave in any way as if the Patriot Act, the NDAA is real here in the USA are aiding and abetting those who use it against us. Will those being used against our nation, to destroy it from within, as TRAITORS will hurt us for our actions because they do not know better. BUT… The OATH that they are REQUIRED to take and KEEP also of its very nature REQUIRES them to know EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING. So if they are committing TREASON and TERRORISM against Americans, assisting in the destruction of our nation, our legitimate government they are STILL to be blamed and held accountable. The US Constitution is a short document that they are lawfully bound to – not any person, not any group – but to that document that rarely changes at all, and parts of it can NEVER be changed by those who serve within our government even by a convention because it is a list of what is NOT under their jurisdiction.

    I am not saying that they will not murder and hurt Americans in its implementation. Those that implement it have, and do as all gangs do.

    Once again this is TREASON and TERRORISM being used against us and not making that plain and public with every voice we have, acting like it is real and can with any semblance of law be used against us instead of calling it what it is – a group of gangs in uniforms, suits, etc “just following orders”, and “just doing their jobs” as the Nazi’s, etc did, and ARE committing Treason and working to the destruction of the USA.

    I am not saying that their are not nice people who work there, I am saying that not only are they uncharged felons and perjurers – because breaking the Oath is a felony and Perjury – they are also TRAITORS and TERRORISTS. They sold out our nation for their salary. Cheaply. They just continue to lie to themselves that they are right because they are following orders.

    If they are NOT Traitors and Terrorists willingly and knowingly, then they will LEAVE the FBI and start/join their state Militia as is constitutionally required so that they can LAWFULLY and LEGALLY DEFEND this nation against all enemies DOMESTIC and foreign. (Bet few if any leave. See how cheaply America is sold out? For paychecks.)

    Stop behaving as if the Patriot Act, NDAA, etc has any legality at all here in America. Call it what it is, an unlawful action that was drawn up, written by traitors to our nation and that any implementation of it is treason. It is “null and void” from the date of its conception under our LEGITIMATE government because nothing about it is constitutional as is required.

    Michael LeMieux said it well here when he said: “The Constitution has very little to do with the American citizen. It was written to establish a Federal Government and to place the boundaries by which that government would operate. The constitution was never designed to provide or enumerate the rights of the citizens but TO RESTRAIN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT from meddling in state and ultimately citizen affairs.” (caps are mine)

    U.S. Supreme Court CAHA v. U.S., 152 U.S. 211: “Generally speaking, within any state of this Union the preservation of the peace and the protection of person and property are the functions of the state government, and are NO PART of the primary duty, at least, of the nation. The laws of congress in respect to those matters DO NOT extend into the territorial limits of the states, but have force ONLY in the District of Columbia, and other places that are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the national government.” (caps are mine)

    Thomas Jefferson: “When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil.”

    Thomas Jefferson: “The several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party (the people) has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.”

    Understand the legitimate government in which you serve and are Oathbound to.

    Those of us who understand this, and know it is just another type of “gangland” behavior being used against us must teach those who do not understand OUR way of government – which is in writing and short to read but strong in what it says and how IT lays out what those who SERVE WITHIN our governments are ALLOWED to do and what is FORBIDDEN to them. Government labels and actions means NOTHING unless it is constitutional in nature and in its wording and actions here in America.

    John Adams, “A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law” (1765): “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right… and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, and indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.”

    Start acting like it is what it is, unlawful, illegal because all legal things here in America MUST be in Pursuance thereof the US Constitution to be part of the binding agreement made that created that government. That it IS treason, that implementing any part of it against Americans here in our nation IS *Terrorism against us. That the people who created it, wrote it, copied it, put it into a document, taught it to others as a “law” that could be implemented against us, those who commit TERROR and TREASON by implementing it/them are all criminals and Traitors against Americans, the USA, the US Constitution and willingly to do so for a paycheck. They sold out cheap.

    President Andrew Johnson: “Outside of the Constitution we have no legal authority more than private citizens, and within it we have only so much as that instrument gives us. This broad principle limits all our functions and applies to all subjects.”

    Lawful matters here in America are ethically enjoined in the law of the land – the law of the people – and are actual in nature, not implied. This is why the SUPREME LAW of our land as upheld by the US Constitution has no bearing or authority in today’s “legal” (color of law) courts. It is impossible for anyone in “authority” today to access, or even understand what true law is in our nation since “authority” is the “law of necessity” (12 USC 95) and they are taught that is “law” that is USED against us. It is gang law only written, presented, and implemented as real law against the people.

    It is important that all who would implement by their own actions in anyway those unlawful edicts used against us understand that the meaning of the word “legal” as it is used against us today is really “color of law”. It is NOT law in any way, it is just presented as if it is. And those who implement it are made into traitors and terrorists against the American people, many are doing so willingly in their ignorance, yet decrying the state of our nation today, little realizing that THEY are the cause. They will be the cause of their own loses if we lose – no ownership of anything – and put on trial if they do not start to educate themselves soon and stop what they are doing against our nation if we preserve our nation.

    This term which Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition and other legal and not legal dictionaries all define as: (Color of law) “The appearance or semblance, without the substance, of legal right. Misuse of power, possessed by virtue of state law and made possible only because wrongdoer is clothed with authority of state, is action taken under “color of law.” Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, page 241.

    Those still “serving” still have time to Change, and that is their choice if they do. It is not an easy choice because it will take a willingness on their part to suspend the actions they are committing, the stuff they were taught deliberately erroneously in order to learn for themselves what our legitimate government requires. It will be difficult for them to stop those that give them the treasonous orders. It will also be difficult to – in a lawful manner constitutionally – become a true defender of our nation, our legitimate government, and become a part of the Militia, actually stop with the destruction our nation from within.

    Learn the US Constitution, IT is our government not those that serve no matter what position they occupy.

    It is your choice – you must either defend America or be a Traitor, because America only exists under the US Constitution. You only have what you have or are getting because you live in America still partly under the US Constitution. Read what those who consider themselves your “masters” – making you their “slave” – want for our nation and understand the choices you must make. (You will no longer own anything, cars, homes, property of any type, even the choice of clothing, food, etc will be made for you under their regime).

    If you are/were one of the enforcers think about that, think of what you are doing. Now understand why it is called a “police state” here being used against us in America. Understand that it got that term long ago because those used as the “police” are ALWAYS the first to be used against their own people, to destroy the government if a change is wanted by the PTB. They are ALWAYS the first TRAITORS and TERRORISTS used against their own.

    Mack and Printz v. United States: “The Framers rejected the concept of a central government that would act upon and through the States, and instead designed a system in which the State and Federal Governments would exercise concurrent authority over the people. The Federal Government’s power would be augmented immeasurably and impermissibly if it were able to impress into its service – and at no cost to itself – the police officers of the 50 States… Federal control of state officers would also have an effect upon the separation and equilibration of powers between the three branches of the Federal Government itself.”

    The 1783 Treaty of Paris, which ended our war with Great Britain, held that each state was a sovereign nation. As such, each feared giving up its rights to a powerful central government. Anti-federalists wanted some sort of guarantee that states would remain sovereign and that the power of the federal government would be limited and it would be recognized as a creation of, an agent of and a servant of the states. They said their votes to ratify could only be obtained if the Constitution contained a bill of rights protecting the rights of the people and their states.

    President Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address: “It is well known that there have always been those among us who wish to enlarge the powers of the general government, and experience would seem to indicate that there is a tendency on the part of this government to overstep the boundaries marked out for it by the Constitution. Its legitimate authority is abundantly sufficient for all the purposes for which it was created, and its powers being expressly enumerated, there can be no justification for claiming anything beyond them. Every attempt to exercise power beyond these limits should be promptly and firmly opposed, for one evil example will lead to other measures still more mischievous; and if the principle of constructive powers or supposed advantages or temporary circumstances shall ever be permitted to justify the assumption of a power not given by the Constitution, the general government will before long absorb all the powers of legislation, and you will have in effect but one consolidated government…. every friend of our free institutions should be always prepared to maintain unimpaired and in full vigor the rights and sovereignty of the states and to confine the action of the general government strictly to the sphere of its appropriate duties.”

    For those of us who still labor under the conviction that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, it must be observed that the only crimes assigned to the federal government in the Constitution for law enforcement purposes are Treason, Piracy, Counterfeiting, and International law violations. That’s it! All other law enforcement matters are the purview of the individual states, according to the Tenth Amendment.

    As always, the choices are ours, yours. Make it an informed one, read the US Constitution – even if you hate to read as it is short – and read the framers, the conventions, you can do it by reading “quotes” if need be.

    Please make the choice yours, and an informed one. We all will live with the consequences.

    Thomas Jefferson: “For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well organized and armed militia is their best security.”

    Alexander Hamilton, defending the new Constitution, and especially its Treaty Clause: “I aver, that it was understood by all to be the intent of the provision [the Treaty Clause] to give to that power the most ample latitude to render it competent to all the stipulations, which the exigencies of National Affairs might require—competent to the making of Treaties of Alliance, Treaties of Commerce, Treaties of Peace and every other species of Convention usual among nations and competent in the course of its exercise to controul & bind the legislative power of Congress. And it was emphatically for this reason that it was so carefully guarded; the cooperation of two thirds of the Senate with the President being required to make a Treaty. I appeal for this with confidence.”
    He went further: “It will not be disputed that the words ‘Treaties and alliances’ are of equivalent import and of no greater force than the single word Treaties. An alliance is only a species of Treaty, a particular of a general. And the power of ‘entering into Treaties,’ which terms confer the authority under which the former Government acted, will not be pretended to be stronger than the power ‘to make Treaties,’ which are the terms constituting the authority under which the present Government acts.”

    God Bless and Stay Safe All!

    If there were never intended to be action to defend the Constitution from those who are domestically attempting to destroy its power and authority, why would each Oath require it of those who take the Oaths?

    Chief Tecumseh: “When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

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