Is the United States becoming a police state? The answer would seem to be yes. Many of the features of a police state—such as widespread surveillance of citizens, censorship and suppression of free speech, ideological indoctrination in schools and the media, and political targeting of dissidents and political prisoners—are now present and observable in the United States.
Dinesh D’Souza’s recent film, “Police State,” available on EpochTV, examines what a police state is and how it has taken root in America. Working in collaboration with Dan Bongino—former NYPD officer, Secret Service agent, and now political commentator—Mr. D’Souza burrows deep into the bowels of the police state. The film interviews insiders and whistleblowers, as well as ordinary citizens who have been hounded, raided, and targeted by an expansive police state apparatus that stretches across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
The Rise of Government Overreach in America
The free world is labeled as such due to free speech and equality under the law. Now, even in America, those lines are getting blurred. How far is America from a police state reality? Mr. Bongino says America is in the slow death stage, where it happens gradually and doesn’t alarm people as much. But the end results are equally devastating.
The film shows how the police state emerged out of the ashes of 9/11 when citizens gave their government a whole new set of police powers in exchange for assurances of safety. Over time, those powers were turned against American citizens—largely patriots, Christians, and conservatives—who were accused of being domestic terrorists.
The Patriot Act following 9/11 expanded the federal bureau's powers from law enforcement to domestic intelligence. Informants, spies, wiretaps, and more expanded police agency’s powers more than ever before. The Patriot Act gave the government power that could be abused and used not just on terrorists but on American citizens. The existence of the FISA courts was to uphold the American philosophy of checks and balances. Agencies needed authorization from the courts to conduct surveillance on someone. However, many of the barriers between counterintelligence and criminal investigations were removed after 9/11, resulting in a significant shift in the mission and strategy of the FBI.
Whistleblowers explain how the FBI process morphed from finding the bad guys who had committed crimes to identifying who they believed had the potential to commit crimes and going after those people. The film shows examples of how this method has led to the entrapment of civilians and incentivized rewards for law enforcement agents.
Under the Bush administration, these tools were used against Muslims. But under former President Barack Obama, they were turned on conservatives and republicans. The IRS began tracking groups who believed in limited government, and the DOJ went after political opponents. There was a fundamental shift in focus from terrorism to extremism, moving the goals of organizations like the FBI, with Republican Party members and ordinary citizens with conservative beliefs being categorized as extremists.
Targeting Political Opponents
The film also identifies former President Donald Trump as the primary target of the police state, along with the Jan. 6 protesters—some serving long sentences for peacefully entering the Capitol to make their voices heard—as the first political prisoners in U.S. peacetime history. Modern tyranny maintains the facade of democracy while only accepting a solution in elections that fits their agenda. According to the film, Jan. 6 gave President Trump’s opponents the moment they were waiting for to paint political threats as extremists.
The film interviews eyewitnesses, including an older man, who attended the rally on Jan. 6, 2021. When he witnessed from a distance others climbing the walls of the Capitol, the man decided to stop and not go any further. He was later turned in by his neighbors, who had heard that he had attended the rally. Although he never even went to the Capitol building, he was arrested at gunpoint at his home and interrogated, resulting in a stroke that day. Between trashing elderly family members’ apartments, the presence of the news media, and the struggle to find a lawyer willing to go head-to-head with the D.C. courts and represent them, the emotional stress became too much for many innocent civilians. “When you know you’re innocent, the only thing you have on your side is truth,” the man said through tears. “I’m an American citizen. I had no right to be attacked.”
An FBI whistleblower told Mr. D’Souza that the goal of home raids is to make the process the punishment. He says the demand by politicians for domestic terrorism incentivizes officials to supply them. When this whistleblower told his supervisors that certain Jan. 6 goers didn’t deserve to be investigated, he was told he had a duty to the FBI, not the Constitution. Sonya Labosco, director of the Air Marshal National Council, said that even those who traveled to Washington during the time of Jan. 6 have been entered into a database for being suspected domestic terrorists. This includes those who never attended the rally and were not at the capitol.
Police states operate on a single standard, protecting their allies and going after their opponents. Police states act based on the political scene being set in the media instead of on law and facts. Although Jan. 6 attendees were treated like terrorists, law enforcement virtually allowed anarchy and little consequences for violent actors in the Black Lives Matter riots, as well as leniency in the rampant crime seen across many U.S. cities. According to the film, it would appear that tyranny and government overreach seem to be reserved for law-abiding conservatives.
Weaponization of Law Enforcement
Kash Patel, former attorney for the National Security Council and House of Representatives said just because America doesn’t have military machinery rolling down the streets doesn’t mean America doesn’t have the onset of a police state. He says the main actors are the faceless bureaucrats working in a basement somewhere, carrying out the larger purposes established by powerful leaders. Politicians who are not brought up in the bureaucratic system and don’t need the system are a threat. President Trump is one of those people.
Although President Trump is often labeled an authoritarian by the left, Mr. D’Souza points out that the dictator is not the usual victim of the police state. With FISA and the Patriotic Act used against Donald Trump, the FBI obtained a FISA warrant on a Trump adviser, Carter Page. This allowed them to survey him and thereby survey President Trump through frequent association with his advisor. The goal was to try and fulfill their pre-planned story of a Trump-Russia collusion, which later turned out to be completely untrue.
Hunter Biden’s laptop is another example of the FBI manipulating information that could influence an election. The FBI took possession of Huner Biden’s laptop 11 months before the 2020 election. The laptop showed perversions and corrupt Biden family dealings that likely would have swung the election results. Police agencies suppressed public disclosure by contacting Twitter and Facebook and telling them what to allow to be said and what to suppress. The mainstream media tagged all emerging details as Russian disinformation. Top-level government security worked with the media to bury the stories. For the government to have a direct hand in censoring speech and information violates the Constitution.
The film also examines the raid at Mar-a-Lago over documents obtained by President Trump. Presidents are allowed to have documents, classified or not, but opening up an investigation enabled law enforcement to look at everything and try to find something to use against President Trump. This also allows for the person being investigated to be charged with obstruction of justice because, without an investigation, there can’t be obstruction of it.
The film discusses how President Joe Biden had documents going back all the way to his days in the Senate. In addition, tens of millions of dollars from foreign entities such as China, Ukraine, and Russia, with no service performed by the Bidens in return, have been offshored to Biden family members and LLCs. In exchange, Hunter Biden sold political access to his father. When people say President Trump is an authoritarian, what kind of an authoritarian dictator is President Trump if the DOJ and law enforcement agencies are going after him while rushing to surround and protect political elites like Joe Biden from public scrutiny?
Censorship and Violation of Constitutional Rights
COVID-19 was used as a pretext for censorship and government overreach, with emergency powers expanding political powers. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Chair of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees, points to the government telling people during COVID-19 that they couldn’t go to church and the FBI categorizing pro-life, pro-family Catholics as radicals. Big Tech worked with the government and FBI to censor the free speech of those who challenged mainstream narratives and advocated for sovereignty over their own bodies. But it didn’t stop with banning speech. Douglass Mackey posted a satirical meme that mocked Hillary Clinton. Once President Biden took office, Mackey was arrested by the FBI and hit with a felony charge for disinformation, causing him to face ten years in prison potentially.
The film shows how parents who spoke against COVID-19 policies and radical gender ideology have also become a target for law enforcement simply for not believing the state has authority over their children. The film interviews two mothers, one from Colorado and one from Virginia. Following parents speaking out at school board meetings, the National School Board Association wrote a letter to the Biden administration claiming that American school and education leaders were under immediate threat and asking for federal law enforcement and other assistance to deal with this threat. Mr. D’Souza cites how this action would essentially criminalize parents for simply making their voices heard. It allowed them to be put under surveillance, with one stay-at-home mom having a threat tag on her name following a school board meeting. “It’s a frightening thought that my government might want to come and arrest me for doing nothing other than exercising my right to free speech.”
On Nov. 16, 2021, one mother was home with her little boys, who were sitting at the table doing school in the morning. She heard banging on the door, and the FBI blew her door open, pulled her outside, and handcuffed her. Her 18-year-old daughter was dragged by her hoodie down the stairs. Their yard was roped off as if they were criminals. “If they’re coming for me, they’re coming for you,” she warned.
In a free country, the government exists to serve the citizens. In a police state, the government declares war on the citizens. Mr. D’Souza’s film is both terrifying and timely. It is an urgent warning to all Americans to protect their fundamental liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, the right to bear arms, and equality under the law before it’s too late.
Watch “Police State” on EpochTV here.