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by James Billot
Monday, 22
May 2023
News
18:13

Majority of Americans don’t trust the FBI

A new poll finds that voters believe the agency requires wide-ranging reform
by James Billot
Americans are losing faith in the FBI. Credit: Getty

A substantial majority of voters are concerned about FBI interference in a future presidential election, with a similar number saying the agency needs wide-ranging reform. 

According to a new poll by Harvard CAPS-Harris, 70% of respondents said that they were either very or somewhat concerned about interference by the FBI and other intelligence agencies in elections. Further, 71% agreed that changes post-2016 had not done enough to prevent further interference and that “wide-ranging” reform was still required.

Credit: Harvard CAPS-Harris

These results arrive on the heels of the Durham Report, which found that the FBI’s justification for launching the Trump-Russia probe, known as “Russiagate”, in 2016 was “seriously flawed”. John Durham, who led the investigation, wrote that the FBI relied on “raw, unanalyzed and uncorroborated intelligence” when it applied for electronic surveillance search warrants against Trump campaign aides, and chased a politically explosive inquiry that was based on flimsy suspicions about the then Republican candidate.

In the same poll, a similarly large majority of respondents (69%) were “not surprised” that the FBI violated its own standards in initiating the Trump probe. And while a larger proportion of Republicans and independents than Democrats said they were not surprised (79% and 75% respectively), a majority of blue voters (55%) also agreed with the statement. However, there was a partisan debate over whether voters believe that Trump colluded with Russia to win the presidency: only 19% of GOP voters agreed with this statement versus 70% of Democratic voters.

Credit: Harvard CAPS-Harris

This year the Republican Party intensified its attacks on the agency. Since taking the House in the midterm elections, Republicans have created a committee reviewing the “weaponization of the Federal Government”, which has been told to investigate “the expansive role” of the executive branch to “collect information on or otherwise investigate citizens of the United States, including ongoing criminal investigations”. Last week, former FBI officials provided succour to GOP criticisms after they accused the bureau of politicisation having lost their clearance — allegedly due to their views on Jan 6.

The FBI also came under further scrutiny after a heavily redacted court order was released on Friday. Based on a secret court order issued last year by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees the US Government’s spy powers, FBI officials repeatedly violated their own standards when searching for information relating to the events of 6th January and the George Floyd protests in 2020. Patrick Toomey, deputy director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, responded to the report by saying that “these unlawful searches undermine our core constitutional rights and threaten the bedrock of our democracy. It’s clear the FBI can’t be left to police itself”.

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Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
6 months ago

All of my leftie friends who ridicule my stance on the WEF, Great Replacement, 9/11, Ukraine, Covid etc funnily enough all happened to believe in the greatest conspiracy theory of the last 7 years, that of the fabled “Russian Collusion”. Only difference is mine came true.

Michael Drucker
Michael Drucker
6 months ago

Hold on a minute.
Can someone clarify please?
70% of Democrats believe that Trump colluded with Russia.
Is this before or after the release of the Durham report ?
If Before, I’m shocked it’s such a low number.
If After. Oh boy.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
6 months ago

It all depends on what you mean by ‘colluded’, does it not? AFAIAC it is established fact that Russian intelligence actively aided the Trump campaign (those hacked emails) that Trump welcomed their activities (he said it openly) and that various staffers had some kind of contact with Russian middlemen. Worth an investigation, I’d say. But already the Mueller report – you do not need to wait for Durham – said that there was not evidence of any co-conspiracy or active collusion from the Trump side. Which closes the criminal case. What you think of a president who is happy to have enemy intelligence services interfere in US elections to help him win is up to individual ethics, I guess.

Aldo Maccione
Aldo Maccione
6 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Talking about ethics, is it better when the US media interfere ? Is any interference an issue or just foreign one ? Just asking for a friend.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
6 months ago
Reply to  Aldo Maccione

Well, the idea of democracy is that the people in a society collectively decide on a government that suits them, and then live with the consequences. There are arguments about some actors having disproportionate influence, be it media, academic elites, or billionaire donors. A lot of the campaign donations happening in the US would be seen as illegal corruption in many other countries, for instance. But as long as it is all within the country, you could say people are sorting it out between them. The media, be it Fox News or the New York Times are part of society, as is the readership that sustains them, so how can you talk about ‘interference’? Foreign influence is another matter. Here we are no longer talking about a society sorting out how to balance competing interests, but about an external group trying to run someone else’s country for their own gain.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
6 months ago

The FBI was never worthy of trust. Their history of abuse goes back over an entire century. They were never truly a law enforcement organization. Their purpose was always to go against any domestic movements or organizations the the powers in Washington do not like. These abuses are well documented but it seems people forget over and over.

Last edited 6 months ago by Matt Hindman
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago

These guys are mere lapdogs to the real bad guys – the NSA, CIA, and DHS, MI6.

If the above did the job they are created to do thay would not go about overthrowing odd governments and suppressing political dissidents – but filling Gitmo with the Davos Crowd, the Social Media Monsters, the Black Rock, Vanguard, Microsoft Monsters – Soros, Fink, Bezos, half of DC, et al. The Campaign Contribution Monsters who Own the Uniparty (the Democrats and Republicans and Labour and Conservative… all Uniparty, all owned) WHO, WEF, FED, ECB, BoE, BIS, and on and on

You know – the enemy of mankind, the ones ‘Dr Evil’ was Modeled on…… But no – they do not do that. We are done, it is us they suppress….

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
6 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

So which political model would you go for? Mussolini’s? XI’s? Putin’s? Kim Young Un’s? Or would you be satisfied with just the Erdogan lightweight dictatorship model?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
6 months ago

Ultimately, the FBI is there to serve its own interests. It will align with the Dems if that is convenient, which is the case right now. It will align with the GOP, if that is convenient. Change needs to come at the top. What that looks like, I have no idea.

Emre S
Emre S
6 months ago

I recommend the movie “Inherent Vice” – very underrated for sure.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
6 months ago

thought CIA was worsererer …. https://youtu.be/nA0OXZuaG0g