Rep. Jamie Raskin on Tuesday released an uncensored version of a 2006 FBI intelligence assessment warning of the growing danger of white supremacist infiltration of U.S. law enforcement, and upbraided the Trump administration for ignoring the threat.
Raskin (D-Md.), chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform's Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, published the unredacted document (pdf), titled White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement, before a congressional hearing about the subject Tuesday morning.
The roots of policing can be traced to the antebellum slave patrols of the South, which led to the establishment of all-white police departments.
Today, I join @OversightDems to examine white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement.
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) September 29, 2020
"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," Raskin said in a statement. "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," Raskin added.
Watch the subcommittee's Tuesday hearing, "Confronting White Supremacy, Part IV":
The Intercept published a redacted version of the assessment in 2017. In June, Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) led more than two dozen lawmakers in calling on the Department of Justice to release the unredacted document, and asking the DOJ and FBI to explain what they've done to combat the problem of racist infiltration. Torres has repeatedly demanded that the Trump administration publish the full version of the document.
However, the bureau—and the Trump administration more broadly—has refused to acknowledge the threat of white supremacist infiltration in law enforcement.
Read more about my letter requesting the @TheJusticeDept release the full contents of a 2006 FBI intelligence assessment entitled, “White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement” https://t.co/YuWtOQW25R
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— Rep. Norma Torres (@NormaJTorres) September 4, 2020
The unredacted portions of the document include:
- 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."
- An assessment that "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."
- A pattern of "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 prediction that racist officers will assist white supremacists: "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 U.S. 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," said 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," Raskin added.
The unredacted portions of the 2006 FBI report have proved alarmingly prescient. White supremacist infiltration of law enforcement has been extensively documented in journalistic and academic investigations. Meanwhile, police across the nation—including in some of the country's most progressive cities and states—have worked with or otherwise assisted white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and other racists against anti-racist protesters.
California police worked with neo-Nazis to pursue 'anti-racist' activists, documents show https://t.co/jy5fajDmhv
— The Guardian (@guardian) February 9, 2018
President Donald Trump has courted and inspired white supremacists from the day he announced his bid for the presidency. Not only has he refused to condemn neo-Nazis and right-wing vigilante killers, he even infamously called white supremacists who attended the 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia protest where anti-racist protester Heather Heyer was murdered "very fine people."
The president has also habitually downplayed right-wing violence, even as his own Department of Homeland Security warned earlier this month that white supremacist pose the greatest domestic terror threat, and even as such hateful ideologues keep attacking and killing people.
Critics have blasted Trump—whose reelection bid relies heavily upon "law-and-order" rhetoric replete with thinly-veiled racist appeals to white voters—for ignoring white supremacist violence while demonizing overwhelmingly peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters. The president and some of his prominent supporters have repeatedly conflated the Movement for Black Lives with what the FBI has dubbed "Black identity extremists."