“They were really desperate,” Balogun said. “This is pretty much like Stalin 1950 – ‘You show me the man. I show you the crime.’”
The prosecution’s case eventually unraveled – but in the process, so did Balogun’s life.
The BIE surveillance and failed prosecution of Balogun, first reported by Foreign Policy, have drawn comparisons to the government’s discredited efforts to monitor and disrupt activists during the civil rights movement, particularly the FBI counterintelligence program called Cointelpro, which targeted Martin Luther King Jr, the NAACP and the Black Panther party.
Michael German, a former FBI agent and fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s liberty and national security program, said the BIE assessment was “extraordinarily overbroad” and that the concept was spreading to law enforcement agencies across the US as more black activists were facing surveillance and police harassment.