It’s no secret that the FBI has a long and sordid history of abusing its power. Under J. Edgar Hoover, the bureau carried out Cointelpro – a covert operation designed to surveil, discredit, and disrupt dissident political organizations. The targets of Cointelpro were not limited to one ideology or political affiliation – they included Martin Luther King Jr., the Black Panthers, and gay rights activists. In recent weeks, the FBI has been emboldened by the Biden administration to go after Trump supporters, using the same tactics they’ve employed against African Americans for decades.

The MAGA movement is not the first time that the FBI has targeted a political group with surveillance and disruption. In fact, these tactics have been used against Black civil rights advocates for generations. The COINTELPRO program was created in response to the Civil Rights Movement.

Throughout the history of America, every single time the powers of law enforcement have been expanded for some “urgent and necessary” reason, that power is almost immediately used against the Black community. From the Patriot Act being used in the “War on Drugs” to mass incarcerate blacks to the RICO statutes being used to expand prosecutions to target anyone who even knows or associates with a suspect. Even now, as the FBI is given more power to go after Trump supporters, it’s only a matter of time before those new powers are turned against African Americans once again.

We must recognize this “Bait and Switch” for what it is. The FBI has a long history of violating the civil rights of African Americans, and we cannot allow them to do so in the name of political retribution. We must remain vigilant and demand accountability from our government, or we will continue to see the same cycle of abuse play out over and over again. Only then can we hope to create a more just and equitable society.