FBI

How the FBI Abets White Supremacists and Terrorists

Whistleblower Michael German's new book exposes how the FBI failed us on 9/11 and continues to endanger us all through racism, incompetence, and institutional inertia.

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Few organizations elicit more polarized responses than the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Supporters of the FBI claim that it has played an essential role in protecting the United States from all sorts of criminal activity and existential threats since its origins over a century ago as the Bureau of Investigation. Critics say the FBI routinely breaks the very laws it seeks to enforce and has often been a force of state-based repression.

Today's guest on the Reason Podcast is a former FBI agent who nonetheless is a vocal critic of the bureau. Mike German served in the FBI for 16 years, many as an undercover operative who infiltrated white supremacist groups. He left the bureau in 2004 as a whistleblower who told Congress his former colleagues had grossly mishandled a variety of counter-terrorism cases and falsified evidence. Since leaving the bureau, he's worked at the ACLU and published a memoir titled Thinking Like a Terrorist: Insights of a Former FBI Undercover Agent. He now hangs his shingle at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice, where he focuses on how the war on terror affects civil liberties.

He is also the author of the new book, Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide: How the New FBI Damages Democracy, a searing indictment of the agency he once worked for. According to German's in-depth, insider's account, the FBI routinely protects its own malefactors and mistakes at the cost of letting white supremacists, terrorists, and foreign agents go free.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

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  1. Mike German served in the FBI for 16 years, many as an undercover operative who infiltrated white supremacist groups.

    And being a “white supremacist” is illegal and worthy of FBI investigation why? It never dawned on this asshole that having icky views didn’t or at least isn’t supposed to make you a criminal? You know that whole 1st Amendment thing.

    Good for him for turning on the organization but he is still an asshole.

    1. You beat me to it. I’m willing to give the FBI the benefit of the doubt and are investigating groups who are espousing some kind of rhetoric that suggests they’re going to kill or maim people. But given how the term “white supremacist” has been so dramatically warped and watered down in just the last 24 months, I’m suspicious.

      1. Randy Weaver was a “white Supremacist” who wasn’t bothering anyone. The FBI spent years trying to entrap him into selling them an illegal weapon. When they finally got him to sell them a shotgun that was too short to be legal, they murdered his wife for his trouble.

        1. The FBI spent years trying to entrap him into selling them an illegal weapon. When they finally got him to sell them a shotgun that was too short to be legal, they murdered his wife for his trouble.

          FIFY, Weaver maintains the guns he sold were legal and considering the overarching judgement of entrapment, it’s not clear who shortened the barrels illegally.

          1. A shotgun they claimed was illegal. Fair point.

          2. Weaver was never even convicted on the weapons charge, he only did time for “failure to appear” for the weapons charge…

            1. Where they had given him the wrong date to appear on. In all fairness, though, he didn’t show up on that wrong date, either.

              What happened is that the feds were looking for somebody to infiltrate the Aryan Nation for them, and though that Weaver, who was a well known white separatist, (Not supremacist.) would be a good choice. The entrapment was intended to provide them with leverage to get him to cooperate, but he refused anyway and holed up on his land out in the country.

        2. pretty much every “terrorist” they’ve caught wouldn’t have gotten their ideas past the front door if it wasn’t for the FBI helping them. most were bumbling idiot bragards and nothing more

        3. I met Randy Weaver at a book signing back in the 1990s. I believe I still have that signed copy of his book.

          He was a white separatist, which is different from a white supremacist. Buy yah, he just wanted to be left alone but the Feds just couldn’t leave him alone.

          And no, I didn’t believe in white supremacy or separatism, it was his anti-government views that appealed to me.

          1. If he was a white separatist, then yes, that is a different thing. I’ve told this story before but I was watching a prison documentary where one of the prisoners kept referring to himself as a white separatist which confused the interviewer. He kept carefully correcting her.

        4. Wrong agency. ATF is what you’re looking for.

        5. Randy Weaver was a white *separatist*. He did not get along with the white supremacists where he moved very well which no doubt figured into why the FBI tried to entrap him into becoming an undercover informant.

    2. Yeah, white supremacists are exceptionally icky. They are also so marginal as to be immaterial. Nobody will take Richard Spencer seriously outside of CNN.

      Marxists are far more icky AND far more influential. He seems unconcerned. Odd.

    3. And being a “white supremacist” is illegal and worthy of FBI investigation why?

      Gee I don’t know John, maybe for the same reason mosques are worthy of investigation? Like your pal Giuliani did in NYC?

      I completely understand why a civil libertarian would defend the rights of Muslims, Nazis, white supremacists, fascists, communists, atheists, Christians, etc., to express their rights without the heavy hand of the state monitoring them all the time. That’s my position, in fact. But we all know you’re not a civil libertarian. So why is it exactly do the white supremacists get the civil libertarian treatment in your mind, but mosques and Antifa do not?

  2. white supremacists, terrorists, and foreign agents go free.

    This is a bit of a weird amalgam of malefactors. Do we presume that the first group in the list are committing or preparing to commit acts of terror or does the FBI make it their business to ‘infiltrate’ every group of people who espouse an odious opinion or use the n-word with too much frequency.

    1. Even the third is exceedingly nebulous.

      John nailed it straight away. The guy is a shit heel and a turncoat and while the latter is good it has no bearing on the former. The fact that he lumps white supremacists, terrorists, and foreign agents together in such a manner outside the FBI speaks volumes about his ethics.

    2. I presume it is a catchall phrase for the Klan and Neo Nazi gangs and such overtly criminal organizations, rather than just people who hold stupid views.

      1. ‘Violent criminals and criminal organizations’ is more accurate, more inclusive, and shorter hand than ‘white supremacists, terrorists, and foreign agents’. However that assumes, inside or outside the FBI, he’s actually opposed to crime and criminal organizations and not ‘white supremacists, terrorists, and foreign agents’.

        1. It smells like a virtue-signal to make sure we know he’s a good guy.

          1. It’s just propaganda and useful idiots.

      2. There is no “the Klan”. There are small, separate white racialist groups, who might or might not have the word “Klan” in their names, some of whom are in loose associations with some of the other groups. None that I’m aware of (and I live in a part of the country where it’s easy to be aware of them) are “overtly criminal organizations”. Their primary activity seems to be having picnics at state parks or campgrounds at which there might be couple of speeches given.

  3. You know which other government agency abets white supremacists? ICE. Because, as Shikha Dalmia has noted, deporting people is basically the same thing as enforcing fugitive slave laws. So the vile racism that once sustained slavery in this country never really went away; it now manifests as opposition to the Koch / Reason immigration agenda.

    #AbolishICE
    #OpenBorders

    1. “as Shikha Dalmia has noted,”

      Now that is funny.

      1. IMO that piece is her magnum opus. That’s why I link it in my username.

        1. You are tickling my funny bone today.

        2. IMO that piece is her magnum opus.

          Maybe at Reason (even then I disagree) but given the span of her career, I think her screed against The Camp Of Saints in The Week was better:

          Far from being prophetic, The Camp of the Saints is spectacularly wrong at nearly every level.

          So here’s my cri de couer to fellow conservatives: Banish this book from your library. Purge it from your consciousness. This book should never have been admitted into civilized company, but especially not now ,when America is a polyglot, multi-ethnic — and, yes — multicultural country where Indian folks like us are likely to be your friends and family.

          You can still stand athwart the Statue of Liberty and yell stop to the huddled masses. Just don’t do it while waving this scatological screed — lest it besmirch you.

  4. You create a government agency composed of elite specially trained operatives. It is highly secretive and basically accountable to no one. It has unlimited resources and is free to pursue its own agenda.

    What could go wrong?

  5. “Whistleblower Michael German’s new book exposes how the FBI failed us on 9/11 and continues to endanger us all through racism, incompetence, and institutional inertia.”

    As if we didn’t already know all this.

  6. Since leaving the bureau, he’s worked at the ACLU and published a memoir titled Thinking Like a Terrorist: Insights of a Former FBI Undercover Agent. He now hangs his shingle at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, where he focuses on how the war on terror affects civil liberties.

    So you’re saying there’s at least one undercover FBI operative working at the ACLU and the Brennan Center for Justice?

  7. “the FBI routinely protects its own malefactors and mistakes at the cost of letting white supremacists, terrorists, and foreign agents go free.”

    I don’t doubt it. But one of these things is not like the others. Letting white supremacists go free? Are we slamming the prison doors on people for thought crimes now? The ACLU used to defend the free speech rights of Nazis, and now this?

  8. Walter Williams: The word Democracy is found no where in the US Constitution..
    The Founders saw Democracy as another form of Tyranny.
    They condemnded the idea of a Democracy.

  9. ‘Alt-right’ leader Richard Spencer has voted for Democrats in the past, including John Kerry | Elections | Dallas News
    https://www.dallasnews.com/news/elections/2017/10/19/alt-rightleader-richard-spencer-wild-votingbut-backed-democrat-kerry-trump

  10. The Alt-Right is Not Right – It’s Left…..The alt-right is myth
    One of the pillars of conservatism is “The Golden Rule,” which automatically precludes white nationalism or racial supremacy of any kind. According to McPaper, the white nationalist/supremacist Richard Spencer coined the term in 2008. If he uses the term alt-right to identify himself and his fellow believers – this begs a question? The KKK was the enforcers of the white supremacist Southern Democrat Party, the Dixiecrats. Alt-right demonstrators hit the streets adorned with Nazi paraphernalia and Confederate flags.

    Neither of those symbols represents American conservatism. In fact, the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party, which these nuts appear to be so fond of, was a tale of combat between two competing leftist ideologies – fascism and communism. Socialist German Workers Party” (Nazis). There were no “right-wingers” involved at all.

    And did I see the word socialist? By cracky, I did. The alt-right is myth. It should actually be relabeled, or labeled properly as the
    National Socialist American Party, because they are in fact fascists. But because of our woefully inept education system in this country, most believe fascism and Hitler were right wing. They couldn’t be more wrong.

    The fascists were leftists who had/have a lot more in common with communists than with free market capitalists.

  11. White Nationalist term is a media created term bringing up thoughts of the KKK..
    White Nationalist: the term itself, as in anything with the word White before it is a racist term bringing up thoughts of the KKK. how about his, American nationalist? the media would also call this a cover name for the KKK… and the thought process, if you are white, voted for Trump, support a Constitutional Rep then you are by that alone a KKK supporter, racist, and of course privileged,

  12. Reason gets it wrong most of the time. Is Reason now the controlled opposition? Lots of people think so, myself included.
    The FBI is so evil by plan. Have you ever heard of Adam Weishaupt?
    Jefferson and Washington did and wrote extensively about their conspiracy.

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