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A Visit From the FBI Over Your Social Media Post? It Could Happen

The Bureau is doing it ‘every day, all day long,” according to one agent.

It’s a safe bet that most, if not all, FBI agents – if they knew they could speak freely without fear of retaliation – would assert that they did not join the Bureau to spend their time knocking on doors and questioning American citizens about the opinions they post on social media. Those agents know they have much better things to do with their time. Yet, according to what a couple of them told one Oklahoma woman, many are spending “every day, all day long” interrogating Americans about their social media posts.

On March 27, the FBI showed up at Rolla Abdeljawad’s door in Stillwater, OK, to confront her about what she had written recently on Facebook. Abdeljawad is a pro-Palestinian critic of the action Israel has taken against Hamas. It is fair to say she harbors some very strong views, and many Americans might find the opinions she posted on the social media platform quite offensive – perhaps even disturbing.

However, the entire concept of free speech means that one is free to say things others – or even the government – may not like or agree with. If that is not the case, there is no freedom of speech.

Abdeljawad recorded the visit. She told the agents she would not speak with them and asked that they display their badges to the camera she was using. The agents refused to do so, though Abdeljawad says local law enforcement confirmed that her visitors were from the FBI.

So, what was it that Abdeljawad posted on social media to motivate the country’s top federal law enforcement agency to visit her? According to media reports, one of her posts said, “Israhelli terrorist filth. They think Ramadan is a weakness for Muslims, not realizing Ramadan is the strength. #FreePalestine May Allah destroy every single despicable zionist, their supporters and backers. Ameen.”

The Unsavory Side of Social Media

Strong words indeed, but do they contain any direct threat of violence or an indication that Abdeljawad was planning or considering carrying out a terror attack? No, clearly, they do not. Any frequent user of social media platforms such as X, Facebook, Gab, and Truth Social would admit to having seen posts that were as close – or even closer – to containing actual threats or incitements to violence against various individuals, racial or religious demographics, and organizations. Former President Donald Trump has been targeted by possibly hundreds of social media posts that directly or indirectly wish harm or death upon him – some even hoping for, or calling for, his assassination. Joe Biden and a host of other political office holders – both Republican and Democrat – have also no doubt been the target of similar posts.

GettyImages-1238671744 social media

(Photo by Christoph Dernbach/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Entire segments of the US population, including blacks, whites, Jews, Muslims, Christians, and gays, are frequent targets of hateful and nasty social media posts. Some of those posts even come very close to calling for wholesale violence and even genocide against one of these groups.

Sane and reasonable people would agree that such sentiments expressed publicly, regardless of which people or groups they target, are utterly appalling. Nevertheless, words are only words. Opinions are only opinions. Moreover, we are wading into perilous waters indeed when we allow a government – any government, regardless of its position on the political spectrum – to arbitrarily decide which opinions and which speech needs to be investigated even without any additional evidence to suggest that the speaker presents a credible threat to any person or group.

Is the FBI speaking with every one of these social media users? If so, why? Quite apart from the apparently intentional chilling effect it has upon free speech, it all seems like a terrible waste of Department of Justice time and resources when there are so many more tangible threats to the security of this country and its citizens.

The FBI Comes Knocking

In the video Abdeljawad‘s attorney posted to X, under the comment “Joe Biden’s DOJ,” FBI agents tell the woman that Facebook had provided them with screenshots of a couple of her posts. Abdeljawad then asked the agents, “So we no longer live in a free country, and we can’t say what we want?” one of them responded, “No, we totally do. That’s why we’re not here to arrest you or anything. We do this every day, all day long. It’s just an effort to keep everybody safe and make sure nobody has any ill will.”

Is it now a potential criminal offence then, to harbor ill will? If it is, most Americans are, no doubt, in trouble.

A woman in Texas, who goes by the name “Kam St. Martin” On X, was also visited by the FBI because she posted, “This monster drugged my 27 yr old cousin at the L’Auberge Casino in Baton Rouge last February. He dumped her half naked dead body like trash. Rap sheet a mile long. He walks today on PROBATION. Damion Matthews may you reap what you have sown. @govjefflandryy.” Beneath this statement was a photo of Matthews.

For the record, Matthews was not charged with causing the death of Macy Peebles in February of 2023. The 27-year-old Peebles died of an overdose, according to the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office. However, Damien Matthews was supposedly the last person seen with Peebles, and he is alleged to have dumped her dead body behind an abandoned apartment building in the Louisiana capital.

The point is, St. Martin posted no threat, nor did she express anything in this social media post that could even be described as “hate speech,” prejudice, or a call for violence. What, then, were FBI agents doing at her house?

This profoundly concerning practice appears to go beyond any perceived political agenda on the part of the Biden administration or the Department of Justice. Rather, one might suggest it is more about extending a warning to all Americans that they are not free to express any opinions that the authorities do not approve of. Essentially, saying what you think about anything is now a privilege, rather than a right, and there will be consequences if those in power don’t like what you said. As for the FBI’s apparent position that these home visits are being conducted in the name of ensuring everybody is safe, perhaps the agency – and the American people – should remember the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Read More From Graham J Noble

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