So the FBI has now admitted they are falsely representing themselves as fake leaders of real right-of-center organizations in order to chase leads on potential extremists who threaten violence against lawmakers. This is a pretty disgusting tactic because when the story is resolved and reported, the innocent groups are being smeared through association by law enforcement officials.
As the F.B.I. moved in on a man who allegedly threatened Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, because of her support for health care legislation, law enforcement agents faced a challenge: they needed to confirm that Charles A. Wilson, the man whose phone number was used to leave menacing messages on her office voicemail, was in fact the man who made the threats.
So they found a convenient way to get Mr. Wilson talking about the issue that seemed to be weighing so heavily on him. Special Agent Cory Cote of the F.B.I. called Mr. Wilson at his home number and, according to the criminal complaint, â€œdisguised himself as a representative of Patients United Now, a group that was ostensibly attempting to have the federal health care reform legislation repealed.â€
Mr. Wilson apparently was interested in what the group had to say: the call lasted about 14 minutes, according to the complaint.
Patients United Now is a real organization, part of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a conservative, antitax advocacy group, that has actively opposed the legislation and also runs a project called â€œHands Off My Health Care.â€
According to the report, the suspect had no connection with AFPF prior to the FBI’s actions. AFPF’s leader points out that they have condemned those who make threats, and the organization’s activities have focused on getting grassroots mobilized. They do voter education seminars which are copy cats of the NRA grassroots seminars that educate people on how politics and elections work and how the individual can get involved.
I think there’s a damn good question here: Why is the FBI impersonating leaders of real organizations in their stings? What are they saying to suspects that will ultimately be (falsely) attributed to right-of-center leaders? They could destroy an organization’s reputation with their sting actions when the actual staff and volunteers had nothing to do with criminal activities. There’s no reason the FBI couldn’t make up a new fake organization rather than trying to drag the successful small government groups through the mud.