There’s nothing new about this administration (and its cronies at the state level) using institutions of state power for political intimidation, but I have the impression that such actions have been carried out more blatently of late. Recent articles point out that:
(1) Potential visitors to this summer’s political conventions were visited by FBI agents and asked three questions: “…were demonstrators planning violence or other disruptions, did they know anyone who was, and did they realize it was a crime to withhold such information” (emphasis added).
(2) Porter Goss, Bush’s nominee to head the CIA (which Stansfield Turner described as “the worst appointment that’s ever been made”), introduced legislation on June 16 that would allow the president to order the CIA to monitor and arrest American citizens within the United States.
“This language on its face would have allowed President Nixon to authorize the CIA to bug the Democratic National Committee headquarters,” Jeffrey H. Smith, who served as general counsel of the CIA between 1995 and 1996, told NEWSWEEK. “I can’t imagine what Porter had in mind.”
Somehow I don’t share Smith’s difficulty imagining that.
(On a related topic, check out Atrios’ very interesting comment.)
(3) Jeb Bush’s Florida cops are intimidating elderly black activists who help friends and neighbors get to the polls. This short article will make your blood boil. Take two minutes out of your day and read the whole thing.