“I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world,” said Donald Trump in July, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Recently leaked documents containing the FBI’s top anti-terrorism priorities under the Trump administration strongly suggest just how much of a lie the president’s claim of not possessing a racist bone in his body truly is.
The Young Turks managed to obtain the documents — many labeled “Law Enforcement Sensitive” and “For Official Use Only” — which list the most important terrorist threats currently facing the nation and include “Black Identity Extremists,” “anti-authority” extremists, and “animal rights/environmental extremists” among the top targets of their investigations.
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The documents also reference a plan with the codename “Iron Fist” to use undercover agents to infiltrate the groups they are targeting.
If “Black Identity Extremists” are the “priority domestic terrorism target” set by the Trump administration — at a time when white supremacist groups were responsible for every race-based domestic terrorism incident last year, according to a document widely circulated within the Justice Department and suppressed from public and congressional view by the White House — then it’s difficult to deny that those priorities are part of a thoroughly racist agenda. By contrast, the document does not cite a single instance of a “Black Identity Extremist” attack.
According to The Young Turks, this year’s version of the FBI’s Consolidated Strategy Guide has changed the references to “Black Identity Extremists” in the document to the more inclusive “Racially Motivated Violent Extremists” due to pressure from Senate Democrats but still focuses their descriptions on African American activists rather than white supremacists.
“RMVEs [Racially Motivated Violent Extremists] use force or violence in violation of criminal law in response to perceived racism and injustice in American society, or in an effort to establish a separate black homeland or autonomous black social institutions, communities, or governing organizations within the United States,” the updated 2020 version of the Consolidated Strategy Guide states.
The 2018 version of the guide that The Young Turks obtained lists white supremacist groups as a “medium threat,” an assessment that proved to woefully underestimate the level of violence that this domestic terrorism threat would go on to enact.
The level of the FBI’s miscalculation is shown by the varying threat descriptions they outlined in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the Consolidated Strategy Guide.
“The FBI further judges ongoing attrition of national organized white supremacy extremist groups will continue over the next year, yielding a white supremacy extremist movement primarily characterized by locally organized groups, small cells, and lone offenders,” the 2018 threat guidance erroneously predicted.
The 2019 edition wasn’t much more accurate in predicting the success that white supremacist groups would have in increasing their ranks.
“Infighting and lack of leadership have made it difficult for groups to organize nationally and to sustain their memberships and influence. The internet and the emergence of social media have also enabled individuals to engage the WSE movement without joining organized groups,” the 2019 threat guidance reads.
While the current FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted to Congress in July that the majority of terrorism cases the FBI faced in 2019 “are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence,” until President Trump and his Justice Department cronies stop denying the threat that these deluded racist nationalists pose, we can expect that the FBI’s priorities in pursuing domestic terrorism threats and the reality on the ground may be far from aligned.
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Original reporting by Ken Klippenstein at The Young Turks.