Report on FBI Spying Garners Praise, Renews Concerns About Political Surveillance

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Last week, Defending Rights & Dissent released the groundbreaking report Still Spying on Dissent: The Enduring Problem of FBI First Amendment Abuse. The report compiles in one place known cases of FBI surveillance and monitoring of social movements, civil society, and First Amendment protected expression since 2010. By doing so, our report, authored by Chip Gibbons, makes the case that there is a systemic problem of FBI political surveillance. Still Spying on Dissent goes further and links this present day spying to the longer history of FBI abuse. As Gibbons explains in the report,

By compiling these incidents in one place, a different picture emerges—that of widespread and systemic political surveillance. When analyzed in totality, two conclusions emerge: First, the FBI frequently cites its counterterrorism authorities when spying on protest groups. Second, the groups targeted by the FBI are frequently peace, racial justice, environmental, and economic justice advocates. In other words, the same political bias the FBI has displayed for decades seems fully intact

The report has received widespread praise and has once again raised the issue of FBI spying. Already it’s been featured twice in The Intercept. And Gibbons has done a number of interviews about the report, including with District Sentinel and Between The Lines.

Here’s what people are saying about the report:

Alice Speri, The Intercept


Kevin Gosztola, Managing Editor Shadow Proof

Sarah Lazare, web editor In These Times

Patrick Eddington, research fellow in homeland security and civil liberties at the Cato Institute, CIA whistleblower, and a former senior staffer in the House of Representatives.

Jesse Franzblau, Senior Policy Analyst at National Immigrant Justice Center

Tim Shorrock, contributor to The Nation, investigative journalist covering covering the intersection of national security and capitalism, and author of Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing

Charity and Security Network

Nora Benavidez, Director of PEN America’s U.S. Free Expression Programs

National Lawyers Guild