How Social Networks Became a “Subsidiary” of the FBI and CIA

The US Congress last tried to grapple with what the country’s ballooning security services were up to nearly half a century ago.

In 1975, the Church Committee managed to take a fleeting, if far from complete, snapshot of the netherworld in which agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and National Security Agency (NSA) operate.

In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, the congressional committee and other related investigations found that the country’s intelligence services had sweeping surveillance powers and were involved in a raft of illegal or unconstitutional acts.

They were covertly subverting and assassinating foreign leaders. They had co-opted hundreds of journalists and many media outlets around the world to promote false narratives. They spied on and infiltrated political and civil rights groups. And they manipulated the public discourse to protect and expand their powers.

Senator Frank Church himself warned that the might of the intelligence community could at any moment “be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything… There would be no place to hide.”

Since then, the technological possibilities to invade privacy have dramatically increased, and the reach of the intelligence agencies, especially after 9/11, has moved on in ways Church could never have foreseen.

This is why establishing a new Church Committee is long overdue. And finally, in the most controversial of circumstances and for the most partisan of reasons, some sort of revival may finally be about to happen.

A protracted battle last month within the Republican Party to elect Kevin McCarthy as the new speaker of the House of Representatives forced him to cave to the demands of his party’s right wing. Not least, he agreed to set up a committee on what is being called the “weaponization” of the federal government.

It held its first meeting last week. The panel said its task would be to look at “the politicization of the FBI and DOJ and attacks on American civil liberties”.

Earlier, in a speech to the House on the new committee, Republican Representative Dan Bishop said it was time to cut out the “rot” in the federal government: “We’re putting the deep state on notice. We’re coming for you.”

Democrats are already decrying the committee as a tool that will be wielded in the interests of Donald Trump and his supporters, saying the Republican right wants to discredit the security services and suggest malfeasance in the treatment of the former president.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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