An Open Letter to the FBI, by Connor Stevens

Written on July 4th, 2017


Explosions ripple across the republic and celebrations crowd the streets. In this patriotic orgy, one must ask: how many actually know the history of this nation? How many actually know the Constitution of the United States of America? How many know the Bill of Rights?

Over five years ago, the FBI oversaw the entrapment operation which led to my imprisonment and subsequent sentence of eight years plus lifetime probation. There are three others who received comparable sentences. In the course of this operation, the FBI violated the heart and letter of the Constitution and even broke your own rules. I know J. Edgar Hoover would be proud. Nevermind what the Founders would think. And we all know that basic human decency is just another casualty in your endless war of terror.

You do not really know me. But I know you pretty well. The all-American storm troopers simply following orders. Your masters directed you to undermine the Occupy movement, which was up to that point the greatest democratic movement in more than a generation. You were directed to target and demonize anarchists, and you obliged your masters.

I know this about FBI tactics: they include lying. Things like telling the grand jury whatever you need to, and then having no problems contradicting yourself later if expedient. And altering the transcripts of recordings to fit your pathetic narratives. The FBI doesn’t pay all that well, so I must assume that you actually believe you are fighting for your nation, even as you obliterate the ideals this nation was founded upon, and lock up the youth of this republic.

Here in prison, I have a lot of time to reflect. I have often wondered how you live with yourselves.

You undermine the Bill of Rights and destroy lives for a living. And yet, to you, I am a terrorist. I, who take as sacred those three concepts: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. I, who believe wholeheartedly that all are entitled to the pursuit of happiness. I, who worked my hands in the ill soil of the city to grow food, and worked to feed the poor. I am not pure or innocent. I have done too much damage to loved ones and the world around me. But my sins do not even approach the terror that you have brought into this world.

Do your dreams haunt you as my dreams haunt me?

I know that FBI agents are just pawns in their game. I know that if it wasn’t you, someone just like you would be in your place.

However, I feel compelled to say something after these long hard years, across this gulf of silence, once your little circus was over. Now that this press conference is all but forgotten and the Republican National Convention is merely just one more mild trauma lingering in the hazy memory of that poor city, I want to tell you a few things.

It would cost the bureau and its partners a lot less to send young men to college, rather than entrap them and send them to prison. It would be so much easier to give the youth decent jobs. Even effective drug treatment pales in comparison to the costs of your paramilitary armies.

And all you do is make enemies.


But who are we fooling?

It is a public secret that the FBI has always been a political police force. It is no wonder that the National Lawyers Guild has recognized us, the Cleveland 4, as political prisoners. It is my understanding that all of your actions are politically motivated.

The bureau has a lot of blood on its hands.

Five years in prison have tempered and matured my beliefs. I have acquired an education that one cannot possible achieve outside these walls. I have come to know in my bones the meaning of words like oppression, violence, and loneliness. I have lived with chronic trauma. I have mastered the wretched art of silent weeping. I have come to know and love many of the human beings the FBI and other agencies ruin for a living. They are worth so much more than you will ever acknowledge. I have learned about nations and cultures the world over. I have read a thousand books. I know a great deal about what is wrong with the world, and how to resolve these problems.

I now have a deeper appreciation for those old white men some of us refer to as the Founding Fathers. They had their shortcomings, and they were essentially aristocrats seeking the expansion of their wealth and power. But some of them were truly brilliant and brave and put forth some splendid ideas, like those we find in the Bill of Rights.

There is another document some of those men attached their names to, which I am sure you are familiar with. They are words that I think we should study and take to heart. On this Fourth of July, while the Constitution is all but ignored and the executive has grown out of all proportion, and democracy – even of the representative type – is so evidently no longer the basis of governing, I think of the FBI, and I am reminded that after all that has transpired, this truth remains:

"Governments are instituted among [humanity], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and institute new government, laying its foundations on such principles, and organizing its powers in which form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

Towards a world without the State,
without cages or hierarchy,
For the sake of the next seven generations.

Connor Stevens
Federal Bureau of Prisons No. 57978-060