For months now, I’ve been reading a number of reports on the Federal Bureau of Investigation. And not the good kind.
Aside from their debacle of a “raid” on the Mar-a-Lago estate, the agency has been under question over its surveillance. Looking into “angry parents” who may have said something online following the treatment of their kid. Looking into good-hearted Christians merely because of what they choose to believe. Not to mention what so many former employees-turned-
But a new report indicates just how low a government agency can potentially go when it comes to surveillance.
I’m speaking about this Epoch Times report. In it, according to documents uncovered by the site, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have been keeping track of not only gun purchases made by “innocent people,” but also their expense records.
Across these hundreds of pages – most of them with redacted information, surprise – indicate that ATF agents made countless requests for warrantless surveillance by the FBI on subjects of interest. And the categories of said interest? Low salaries, past firearm purchases, and the posting of what they call “bizarre” messages.
That’s ridiculous. I read on with this report, which revealed how a man in Arizona was put into the NICS’ daily monitoring, mainly because he purchased a firearm. And the thing that got him on the list? He apparently only has a “reported income” of under $3,000. In the document, the ATF agent noted, “In my experience, someone with this amount of income would not be able to afford 20 firearms.”
This is a complete invasion of this person’s privacy. How do we know this is all the income they make? They could be a freelancer. They could be selling handmade goods at a flea market. If there’s an income issue at the end of the year, that’s not the ATF’s problem – that’s the IRS’ problem. So to see a government agency come in and question someone that hasn’t even been on a criminal radar before just because they own a private gun collection is absolutely absurd.
But there’s more. The report also notes how an Asian man who lives in Texas ended up on a manual background check list by the ATF, mainly because he has “no work history,” which makes him a potential target when it comes to “straw purchasing.”
Are you kidding me? The last couple of years have created a challenging climate for people to get jobs. And this citizen, already going through hell to make ends meet, now needs to get flak from a government agency. It just doesn’t make sense.
Hang on, it gets worse. There was another case in Kansas, in which two potential guy buyers were tagged for “potential trafficking.” And the reason? Per the agent, “My targets are purchasing an abundance of firearms without a license or known financial means to obtain the product.”
But instead of being questioned on his ethics, the agent was given further instruction by the NICS expert at the FBI. “I would suggest covering the lack of income versus expenditures and also if there is substantial make/model duplication.”
Even for a speculative report, this is absolutely asinine. People are having their financial records judged by a government agency, and wrongfully so. Not to mention that now they have to struggle to get a firearm to protect themselves because they’re being flagged – erroneously, might I add – as a threat.
This all feels like it ties in with president Biden’s proposed crackdown on violence in the hopes of quelling the “active shooter” events that are happening out there. But to try and build a solution based on the violation of rights for everyday citizens? That’s not justice. Not in the least.
I hope this report adds fuel to the fire for the ongoing Senate Judiciary Committee that’s looking into the FBI and the Department of Justice. For far too long, they’ve been picking and choosing who to go after, while the real criminals manage to get away scot-free. Here’s hoping that changes in the next few months.
Because, otherwise, if you sneeze on a street corner, who knows, you just might end up on a watch list. As ridiculous as it sounds, in this day of age…you never know.
Michael Letts is the Founder, President, and CEO of InVest USA, a national grassroots non-profit organization that is helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs. He also has over 30 years of law enforcement experience under his belt, hence his pro-police stance for his brothers and sisters in blue. Those interested in learning more about Letts can visit his official website here.