When it comes to spying on Americans, the FBI has found a way to make it racist. Black Lives Matter protests? Spy away. Jan. 6th insurrectionists? No can do.

By Andy Kroll, Rolling Stone

In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection, the FBI told Congress and the American people that the agency had failed to prevent or fully prepare for the worst attack on the U.S. Capitol in more than 200 years in part because it lacked the authority and capabilities to more aggressively monitor social media, where much of the planning for the insurrection took place.

As FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress last summer, the FBI had circulated intelligence materials and other resources before Jan. 6, but the agency had limits in what it could and couldn’t gather from social media. “When we have an authorized purpose and proper predication, there are a lot of things that we do at social media and we do do,” Wray said, “but [what] we cannot do on social media is, without proper predication and authorized purpose, just monitor just in case on social media.”

Unequal spying on Americans

Wray added, “Now, if the policies should be changed to reflect that, that might be one of the important lessons learned coming out of this whole experience. But that’s not something that currently the FBI has either the authority or certainly the resources, frankly, to do.” Since Wray’s testimony, the bureau has sought to ramp up its online surveillance capabilities, including by entering into one of the largest social-media monitoring contracts of any federal agency.

Read More