Uhhhhhhh….Fmr FBI Assistant Director just said “When I first got into the FBI one of the missions of the FBI in its counterintelligence efforts was to try to keep” progressives out of government pic.twitter.com/l1KqQMO914
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) January 19, 2019
A former high-ranking U.S. government official recently admitted that the Federal Bureau of Investigation previously worked to keep “progressives” and “socialists” out of government–years after the agency officially claimed they no longer engaged in such efforts.
Terry Turchie is a former deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. His swift rise in the Bureau is the stuff of legend and Turchie was the director of the task force that ultimately arrested the infamous Unabomber Theodore “Ted” Kaczynski.
During a Friday night appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, Turchie issued a stunning admission about previous instances of apparently illegal domestic counterintelligence operations conducted against left-of-center American citizens.
Turchie’s comments were made in context of a discussion about congressional committees investigating various scandals related to President Donald Trump.
“When you take the election and you take the House [of Representatives] and you now convert all the committees that you have to investigating various aspects of the president of the United States, then your lifeblood has to be to react to stories,” Turchie told Carlson. “So, you’re going to see more stories planted so that all these committees can have a lot of work to do.”
The former assistant FBI counterintelligence director then made the controversial admission [italics added]:
And I think this is just more of the same. And I think we can expect more of this because, quite honestly, the electorate in some places is putting more and progressives and self-described socialists in positions. And, ironically, years ago–when I first got into the FBI–one of the missions of the FBI in its counterintelligence efforts was to try to keep these people out of office.
The FBI has long acknowledged previous decades-worth of oftentimes unlawful surveillance, sabotage and violence aimed at American anti-war protesters, feminists, communists and Civil Rights leaders. The FBI even once infamously sent Martin Luther King, Jr. a letter advising him to kill himself.
The American Civil Liberties Union describes some of those efforts:
During the Cold War, the FBI ran a domestic intelligence/counterintelligence program called COINTELPRO that quickly evolved from a legitimate effort to protect the national security from hostile foreign threats into an effort to suppress domestic political dissent through an array of illegal activities. COINTELPRO targeted numerous non-violent protest groups and political dissidents with illegal wiretaps, warrantless physical searches and an array of other dirty tricks. The FBI used the information it gleaned from these improper investigations not for law enforcement purposes, but to “break up marriages, disrupt meetings, ostracize persons from their professions and provoke target groups into rivalries that might result in deaths.” The Church Committee, a Senate Select Committee that investigated COINTELPRO in the 1970s, found that a combination of factors led law enforcers to become law breakers.
In the FBI’s own words, the program referenced above was intended to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise Neutralize” left-wing movements and their leaders. Official COINTELPRO operations ceased in 1971 around the same time as the Church Committee’s investigations were publicized.
Former FBI director Clarence M. Kelley later apologized for the agency’s lawlessness.
“Some of those activities were clearly wrong and quite indefensible,” Kelley told the American public in 1976. “We most certainly must never allow them to be repeated.”
Turchie’s tenure in the FBI, however, confirms that the basic thrust of the FBI’s domestic counterintelligence efforts remained essentially unchanged–long after the public mea culpas.
According to Turchie himself, he wasn’t even an FBI Special Agent until 1976–the same year Kelley issued his public disavowl. Turchie’s stint as deputy counterintelligence head came much later.
[image via screengrab/Twitter/Fox News]