As the nation reels from the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, a new poll reveals that a quarter of Americans believe that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was behind the insurrection. The post-University of Maryland (UMD) poll, conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News, indicates that about a quarter of respondents say they “completely agree” or “somewhat agree” that the attack was instigated by the FBI.
These results come as the country faces new revelations about the attack, including the accusations that it was planned and coordinated, rather than spontaneous. The FBI’s involvement is also being scrutinized, with a former agency official implicated in alleged connections to some of the rioters.
At the same time, the poll results reflect a growing mistrust of law enforcement nationwide. Many Americans have long had doubts about the FBI and other police agencies, which are seen as being too powerful and unaccountable. In recent years, the organization has come under fire for its handling of routine police stops and investigations, as well as its surveillance of activists and minorities.
The poll results point to the deeper challenge of restoring faith in the nation’s law enforcement institutions. While laws must always be enforced, public trust is often the first step in restoring order.
The UMD poll is the latest example of the public’s dissatisfaction with law enforcement agencies and how they have handled the Jan. 6 insurrection. As the investigation into the attack continues, the government must take steps to rebuild the trust of the American people. This includes engaging in meaningful dialogue with civil rights organizations and creating independent review boards to ensure that law enforcement can be held accountable for their behavior.
Without this, many Americans may continue to distrust the FBI’s handling of the Jan. 6 attack and other events, potentially leading to further violence and instability. As the nation heads toward the 2022 midterms, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies must prioritize rebuilding the public’s trust if they hope to secure the future of the American democracy.