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Subcommittee Chairman Raskin Releases FBI Document on White Supremacists in Law Enforcement

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 29, 2020)— Today, Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, released an unredacted version of a 2006 Intelligence Assessment by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) entitled, “White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement.”

Previously redacted portions of the document, made public for the first time today, reveal startlingly prescient FBI warnings about the potentially dangerous effects of infiltration of law enforcement bodies by violent white supremacist ideas, attitudes, and organizations.

“The public deserves to see the truth reflected in this finally unredacted report,” said Chairman Raskin.  “The FBI saw long ago the multiple potential dangers associated with violent white supremacy and its efforts to infiltrate local law enforcement with ideas, attitudes, and personnel.  Unfortunately, the FBI’s recent refusal to acknowledge and combat this threat under the Trump Administration—just like its refusal to appear today—constitutes a serious dereliction of duty.  The infiltration of certain law enforcement departments by racist ideas, attitudes, and personnel is a clear and present danger to the vast majority of law-abiding officers, to minority communities and citizens, and to the general public.”

Since a redacted version of the assessment was published by The Intercept in 2017, it has provided an important foundation for numerous journalistic and academic investigations into the problem of white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement.  Earlier this year, a group of House Democrats asked the Department of Justice to release the unredacted document.  

Despite sustained public interest, the FBI has refused to release an unredacted version of the assessment.  It has also refused to acknowledge to this Subcommittee that the threat of white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement is substantiated.  That claim is roundly contradicted by the previously redacted language of the FBI’s own assessment, which sketches out a broad spectrum of white supremacist infiltration and its wide-ranging implications and consequences.

The unredacted portions released by Chairman Raskin include the following:

  • A “key judgment” by the FBI that “white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement can result in other abuses of authority and passive tolerance of racism within communities served.”
  • In discussing the possibility of strategic infiltration by white supremacists:  “Cases that have been reported tend to reflect self-initiated efforts by white supremacist sympathizers, particularly among those already within law enforcement, to use their professional skills for the benefit of white supremacist causes.”
  • A conclusion that white supremacist groups will continue to have links to law enforcement in order to inoculate themselves from harm:  “Having personnel within law enforcement agencies has historically been and will continue to be a desired asset for white supremacist groups seeking to anticipate law enforcement interest in and actions against them.” 
  • Another conclusion that raised the possibility of white supremacist sympathizers in law enforcement lending their assistance to white supremacist causes in response to shifts in domestic politics:  “Factors that might generate sympathies among existing law enforcement personnel and cause them to volunteer their support to white supremacist causes could include hostility toward developments in US domestic policies … that conflict with white supremacist ideologies.”
     

“These newly revealed passages underscore the seriousness of the threat posed by white supremacists to law enforcement personnel and the public at large,” added Raskin.  “That the full document has been withheld, despite enormous public pressure, at a time when the white supremacist threat is rampant again, is indefensible.  I can only assume that the primary motivation in stonewalling the release of this document is either to hide the failure to address the threat or to please this Administration, which has repeatedly sought to downplay the dangers of white supremacy as it has sought to downplay the dangers of the coronavirus crisis.” 

Also included in the unredacted report is a list of “intelligence gaps” that posed several important questions that the FBI could not answer, including:  “To what extent has infiltration into law enforcement adversely affected investigations into white supremacists?” 

Chair Raskin released this unredacted document in advance of the Subcommittee’s hearing today at 10:00 a.m., “Confronting Violent White Supremacy (Part IV):  White Supremacy in Blue—The Infiltration of Local Police Departments,” which will examine this problem and examine actions that the federal government can take, such as passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, to rid law enforcement communities of officers who have violent white supremacist affiliations or motivations. 

Chairman Raskin repeatedly invited the FBI to attend the hearing in order to explain its view of the assessment and to discuss what steps the Bureau is taking to combat the problem of white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement.  The FBI declined.

Click here to read the unredacted FBI assessment.

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