FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE - Robert Spencer - OCT 12, 2022
Has any government agency burned its reputation with the American people more quickly?
Has any government agency burned its reputation with the American people more quickly than the FBI? It wasn’t all that long ago that the vast majority of Americans assumed it to be an unimpeachable group of selfless and patriotic law enforcement officials who had dedicated their lives to protecting the American people from all enemies, foreign and domestic. But Rasmussen Reports revealed in August that “a majority (53%) of voters now agree” with Roger Stone’s statement that “we have a group of politicized thugs at the top of the FBI who are using the FBI…as Joe Biden‘s personal Gestapo.” And we do. But maybe we always have, and just weren’t as aware of it as we are now. It turns out that the FBI that we thought was ramrod straight and incorruptible, the FBI of Eliot Ness and Efrem Zimbalist Jr., was using your taxpayer money to track none other than Aretha Franklin. Not exactly a dangerous criminal. And that’s the problem.
Kids, Aretha Franklin was and is known as the Queen of Soul, and for good reason. She was the extraordinary singer who gave us the unforgettable “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You),” “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman,” “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do),” and a host of others. Unlike today’s crop of songstresses, few of whom (if any) could tie Ms. Franklin’s shoes, she was a singer first and foremost, not a lecturer or political commentator. Nonetheless, the New York Post reported on Tuesday that she was “tracked by the FBI for 40 years as the agency repeatedly sought — but ultimately failed — to tie the Queen of Soul to ‘extremists’ and ‘radicals,’” as has been revealed in documents that have just been declassified.
Rolling Stone magazine obtained Franklin’s FBI file and found in it a record of “false phone calls, surveillance, infiltration and highly-placed sources” that the feds inflicted upon Franklin between 1967 and 2007. The file is full of references to “black extremists,” “pro-communist,” “hate America,” “radical,” “racial violence” and “militant black power.” It opines that Martin Luther King’s funeral, where Franklin sang, could turn into a “radical situation,” adding that “Sammy Davis Jr., Aretha Franklin… of this group, some have supported militant Black power concept.” Accordingly, King’s funeral could “provide emotional spark which could ignite racial disturbance in this area.”
Forty years of this surveillance, forty years of taxpayer money wasted, and the feds found nothing, absolutely nothing, that they could use against Aretha Franklin. Her son, Kecalf Franklin, says: “I’m not really sure if my mother was aware that she was being targeted by the FBI and followed. I do know that she had absolutely nothing to hide though. It does make me feel a certain way knowing the FBI had her targeted and wanted to know her every move. But at the same time knowing my mother and the way she ran her business I know she had nothing to hide so they wouldn’t have found anything and were wasting their time. As you see… they found nothing at all.”
Indeed. But it’s bad enough that the effort was made. Why was the FBI wasting valuable resources tracking someone who was quite obviously not a criminal? Was there some dearth of actual criminals in the United States between 1967 and 2007 so that the feds could afford to burn through taxpayer money keeping tabs on an innocent person? Or was the agency’s need to justify its budget paramount above all other considerations to the extent that it opened up investigations of people who had done nothing wrong precisely because these investigations would burn through money and resources, and maybe even justify asking for a budget increase the following year?
Nowadays, when the FBI has been implicated in the Russian Collusion hoax, and has steadfastly refused to do anything about the manifest indications of illegal activity on Hunter Biden’s laptop, these questions become all the more urgent. Nowadays, surveillance is a great deal easier and cheaper than it was in the 1960s and 1970s, and when the Biden regime is engaged in an effort to portray its principal political opponents as representing “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” the fact that there are decades of precedent for it abusing its power by placing innocent people under surveillance is nothing less than chilling.
Aretha Franklin was just the start. If the FBI could surveil her, the feds can and will surveil anyone and everyone. Even you. The FBI, in the midst of this corrupt and authoritarian administration, has definitively lost any claim it may once have had to R-E-S-P-E-C-T.