The FBI has been quietly keeping an eye on white supremacists and other domestic terrorists as they infiltrate law enforcement agencies.
According to a classified FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide from April 2015, obtained by The Intercept, the FBI has been aware of the growing threat that white supremacists and others pose as they continue to find a hold in the nation’s law enforcement agencies, but the FBI has been reluctant to publicly address the issue or even publicly comment on the threat of white supremacy itself.
“Domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers,” the guide, which explains how individuals qualify for inclusion on a terrorist watchlist, reads, according to The Intercept.
Norm Stamper, a former chief of the Seattle Police Department and vocal advocate for police reform, told The Intercept that the findings weren’t surprising, given the history of the United States. “There are police agencies throughout the South and beyond that come from that tradition,” he said. “To think that that kind of thinking has dissolved somehow is myopic at best.”
He then noted, “Local, state, federal agencies, all to some extent have their hands tied, because it’s not necessarily against the law to be a member of a domestic hate group,” specifically citing the fact that the KKK is classified as a hate group, but it is not illegal to be in the KKK.
Except of The Intercept article by Alice Speri
WHITE SUPREMACISTS AND other domestic extremists maintain an active presence in U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies. A striking reference to that conclusion, notable for its confidence and the policy prescriptions that accompany it, appears in a classified FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide from April 2015, obtained by The Intercept. The guide, which details the process by which the FBI enters individuals on a terrorism watchlist, the Known or Suspected Terrorist File, notes that “domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers,” and explains in some detail how bureau policies have been crafted to take this infiltration into account.
Although these right-wing extremists have posed a growing threat for years, federal investigators have been reluctant to publicly address that threat or to point out the movement’s longstanding strategy of infiltrating the law enforcement community.
No centralized recruitment process or set of national standards exists for the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States, many of which have deep historical connections to racist ideologies. As a result, state and local police, as well as sheriff’s departments, present ample opportunities for white supremacists and other right-wing extremists looking to expand their power base.
In a heavily redacted version of an October 2006 FBI internal intelligence assessment, the agency raised the alarm over white supremacist groups’ “historical” interest in “infiltrating law enforcement communities or recruiting law enforcement personnel.” The effort, the memo noted, “can lead to investigative breaches and can jeopardize the safety of law enforcement sources or personnel.” The memo also states that law enforcement had recently become aware of the term “ghost skins,” used by white supremacists to describe “those who avoid overt displays of their beliefs to blend into society and covertly advance white supremacist causes.” In at least one case, the FBI learned of a skinhead group encouraging ghost skins to seek employment with law enforcement agencies in order to warn crews of any investigations… (read more)