The FBI’s use of an informant to infiltrate Black Lives Matter in Denver during the wave of protests over the 2020 police killing of George Floyd has prompted concern in Congress that the federal agency is again abusing its powers to harass and intimidate minority groups. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), is asking the FBI to explain how it came to recruit a violent felon as an informant who then went on to gain prominence among Denver racial justice activists. The informant is alleged to have encouraged protesters to engage in increasingly violent demonstrations while trying to entrap them in criminal misdeeds, the Guardian reports. “If the allegations are true, the FBI’s use of an informant to spy on First Amendment-protected activity and stoke violence at peaceful protests is an outrageous abuse of law-enforcement resources and authority,” Wyden said.
Wyden sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has oversight over federal intelligence-gathering agencies, including the FBI. He fought for public disclosure of President Trump’s deployment in 2020 of more than 750 officers to his home town of Portland, based on what he called “politicized and false intelligence reports." The FBI’s infiltration of Black Lives Matter in Denver “appears to show another instance of the Trump administration trampling on the rights of Americans in order to divide our country and gain a political advantage”, Wyden said. “The FBI owes the public a full accounting of its actions, including how anyone responsible for attempting to entrap and discredit racial justice activists will be held accountable.”