FBI ‘Big Brother’ investigation into Capitol breach out of Orwell’s 1984
How the FBI arrested over 300 Americans for the breach of the Capitol on January 6th could have been taken from the pages of George Orwell’s book “1984.” The investigation has Big Brother written all over it.
The truth is that we face a bleak future if the FBI investigation of the Capitol breach is allowed to stand. In conducting the investigations, it surely appears that the FBI is in violation of the Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
The Washington Post reviewed more than 1,000 pages of the arrest records stemming from one of the largest investigations in FBI history. The Post further reviewed Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavits and search warrants related to the breach of the Capitol on Jan. 6. Their findings are chilling.
How the FBI tracked over 300 suspects
Federal investigators studied videos of those who illegally entered the Capitol, scrutinizing faces. Using unnamed facial recognition software, they were able to identify all who have been arrested so far. This is justifiable investigative work, and agents should be commended for their hard work and diligence in identifying those who violated the nation’s laws.
All of this investigative work meets Constitutional scrutiny.
However, much of the followup to locate and apprehend suspects border on illegal abuse of police power. Agents tracked the movements of offenders vehicles. How you ask? Using CCTV cameras dispersed throughout D.C.
While this is perfectly legal and good police work, a question arises as to when that surveillance began.
Like the investigation into candidate, and later, President Trump, the start of the investigation is in question.
If it began after the breach, how were so many so quickly identified that before they went to the airport the next day, that they were already on no-fly lists? It appears that some surveillance had been conducted on innocent citizens who had not violated any laws, before any crimes were committed.
Their only offense to the now far left FBI was being Trump supporters.
The Post article further stated that the FBI listened into conversations between spouses or friends of suspects. What was their probable cause to obtain such warrants to listen in on phone calls of those not suspected of violating any laws?
This aggressive police work raises questions that even liberals must ask.
Federal documents showed the FBI used license plate readers that captured suspects’ cars
This surveillance allowing the FBI figure out who traveled to and from the nation’s capital and when they were on the road, also reported in the Washington Post. A picture emerges of private citizens being tracked by big brother wherever they travel, if they do not comply with the politics of those powers in control.
That is known as a police state. However, those plate readers can be accessed after a crime, so that tracking could have been when trying to locate those suspects after the Capitol breach. Again the timing is the important part of this investigation.
Let’s give the FBI the benefit of the doubt that all this tracking was done post-breach.
Now, here is where the FBI investigation gets murky
Violations of Constitutional protections begin to enter the Post’s glowing report, even though not explicitly stated. The Post indicates that cell tower location records were used by the FBI to identify when suspects were in the Capitol complex and where they went while inside it.
Great if they obtained search warrants to obtain that information.
In a 2018 decision by SCOTUS, Carpenter v. United States, the court ruled that by accessing historical CSLI records containing the physical locations of cellphones without a search warrant, violates the Fourth Amendment.
The Post’s article does not mention any warrants to obtain this important information.
FBI agents conducted facial recognition searches
Matching pictures and screenshots from the Capitol riot to suspects’ driver’s licenses, and images on social media profiles; again as reported in the Washington Post.
This, too, is within Constitutional guidelines, but this determined the investigation is one sided, directed at Biden’s political enemies. That includes all conservatives and any libertarians or liberals who believe in our Constitution.
The Post stated that FBI agents, in 56 different field offices, executed more than 900 search warrants in all 50 states and DC, many of them for telecommunications and technology companies.
The warrants revealed users’ location data, online statements, and identities for hundreds of suspects in the investigation, that the U.S. Department of Justice has called “one of the largest in American history, both in terms of the number of defendants prosecuted and the nature and volume of the evidence.”
Let’s break down those last remarks.
The warrants provided users’ location data, online statements, and identities for hundreds of suspects.
This demonstrates that in order to obtain the warrants, the FBI used information that needed a warrant to obtain. In other words the FBI admitted to the Washington Post that it violated the Supreme Court rules on telecommunications in order to obtain probable cause to obtain search and arrest warrants.
Warrants served to big tech companies were used to obtain evidence necessary for prosecution, were based on unlawfully obtained information.
However, the article went deeper into the violations of the Constitution that the FBI abused.
It stated that Federal investigators sent “geofence” search warrants to Google that requested account information for all of the smartphones Google detected inside the Capitol via GPS satellites, Bluetooth beacons, and Wi-Fi access points, on Jan. 6.
That would be the very same search warrants obtained using illegally obtained information.
All of those warrants were obtained using information garnered from cell tower tracking of citizens in D.C. on January 6th. That information needs a warrant to obtain.
Everything after that is tainted information.
A more liberal Warren Court, named for Justice Earl Warren, called any information gained by using unlawful means the fruits of the poisonous tree. Nothing obtained after that is admissible as evidence in court.
That same Warren Court called broad warrants to be fishing expeditions and denied them. Yet, The FBI used “super-broad” warrants in the January 6 investigations.
Google wasn’t the only company hit with a super-broad warrant.
The FBI proceeded by subpoenaing Facebook, Parler, Twitter, and Instagram for the account information of every user who live streamed from within the Capitol complex the day of the riot, according to the Post report.
This is how it worked.
In one warrant, Facebook produced the data of an Ohio man who posted that he had gone to the nation’s capital to “witness history.” The warrant elicited Brandon Miller’s Facebook posts, credit card information, phone number, and zip code. That information gave FBI agents enough evidence to match his picture to video footage of the riot, and his driver’s license.
Great investigative work, but was it legal?
In order to learn that Brandon Miller was inside the Capitol, the FBI was granted a search warrant for Facebook to search all files of those at the Capitol based on a”probable cause” that was gained illegally.
As all warrants were obtained based on information gained from illegal searches of cell phone information. It would appear no warrants were legally obtained.
Something the FBI did many times in its investigation of Donald Trump.
The Post admits that records showed that investigators used existing contracts for government background checks to access personally-identifiable information in private databases without a warrant.
An admission that the FBI didn’t merely skirt the law, they flaunted it.
Civil liberties groups have expressed concern about the sweeping manner in which the DoJ conducted its investigation saying it appears investigators had violated the privacy of Americans. Really? The FBI is out of control, violating any law they want with no oversight as long as they do Democrats bidding.
“Whenever you see this technology used on someone you don’t like, remember it’s also being used on a social movement you support,” Evan Greer, from digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, told The Washington Post. “Once in a while, this technology gets used on really bad people, doing really bad stuff. But the rest of the time it’s being used on all of us, in ways that are profoundly chilling for freedom of expression.”
Therein lays the truth of the matter. Our Constitution has been devastated by this investigation and it needs to be rectified. If these mass arrests of political citizens, who do not support the party now in power, are allowed to stand, then the experiment in democracy, begun 277 years ago, is over.
About the author:
Joseph Ragonese is a veteran of the United States Air Force, a retired police officer, has a degree in Criminal Justice, a businessman, journalist, editor, publisher, and fiction author.