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Still Spying on Dissent: The Enduring Problem of FBI First Amendment Abuse

Throughout its history, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has used its expansive powers to investigate, monitor, and surveil First Amendment-protected activity. As early as 1924, public concern about the FBI’s violation of First Amendment rights and other civil liberties spurred official attempts to check the FBI’s power. This report covers FBI surveillance of political activity over roughly the past decade. We find that the FBI has repeatedly monitored civil society groups, including racial justice movements, Occupy Wall Street, environmentalists, Palestinian solidarity activists, Abolish ICE protesters, and Cuba and Iran normalization proponents. Additionally, FBI agents conducted interviews that critics have argued were designed to chill protests at the Republican National Convention or intimidate Muslim-American voters.


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