White supremacy is not a new social phenomena. In fact, it’s older than the American republic and, at one time, had millions of adherents.
Today, the few thousand disorganized loners and loosely organized thugs who call themselves “white supremacists” are rightly attracting the attention of federal authorities who find themselves in an entirely new situation. The emphasis used to be on “Black Identity Extremists” as potential domestic terrorists. But an FBI report from 2018 says that white supremacists were responsible for all domestic terrorism “incidents.”
The document, dated April 15, 2019, shows 25 of the 46 individuals allegedly involved in 32 different domestic terrorism incidents were identified as white supremacists. It was prepared by New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security Preparedness, one of the main arteries of information sharing, and sent throughout the DHS fusion center network as well as federal agencies, including the FBI.
“This map reflects 32 domestic terrorist attacks, disrupted plots, threats of violence, and weapons stockpiling by individuals with a radical political or social agenda who lack direction or influence from foreign terrorist organizations in 2018,” the document says.
Note the use of the term “domestic terrorism incidents,” that includes “weapons stockpiling” by radicals and “threats of violence.” The media is already twisting this report to make it appear that there is an epidemic of white supremacist terrorism when the FBI report says nothing of the sort.
Another FBI report identifies “Black Nationalist Extremism” as a greater threat than Al-Qaeda — or white supremacists.
The 2018-19 “Threat Guidance” documents describe black identity extremists (BIEs) as those who “use force or violence in violation of criminal law in response to perceived racism and injustice in American society.” The files claimed some BIEs acted in hopes of “establishing a separate black homeland or autonomous black social institutions, communities or governing organizations within the USA.”
An internal FBI report from August 2017 was widely criticized for using the BIE label, which many called racist. But the Consolidated Strategy Guide documents leaked this week show the FBI kept the term and made BIEs one of its top counterterrorism priorities.
Under a cryptic strategy titled “IRON FIST,” the leaked documents suggest the Bureau plans to use infiltration and other undercover techniques to “mitigate” threats posed by black extremist groups, including exploiting the felony status of some members.
Under the Trump administration, they’re considered a bigger threat than terror groups such as Al Qaeda.
“Animal rights/environmental extremists” and “anti-authority extremists” were also deemed top existential threats.
The FBI has been behind the curve in getting out front of the white supremacist/white nationalist violence problem. This is not unusual in the history of the FBI, which dragged its heels in the 1950s in going after the mafia and was slow off the mark to identify the Klu Klux Klan as a danger in the 1960s.
The FBI’s problem in identifying and stopping lone wolf white supremacists from either single acts of violence or mass murder is similar to trying to stop terrorists inspired by Islam. You can identify extremists who visit ISIS or white nationalist websites or attend radical churches or mosques, but it’s impossible to read their minds to determine if their extremism is going to turn violent.
There is very little organization to these extremist groups. Some in the media might try and label a group like The Proud Boys as “domestic terrorists” in a dimwitted effort to damage their political opponents. And the media will try to blow up the danger from white supremacists to damage Trump.
Here’s a fun game to play with news headlines: every time you see “white supremacist” in the headline, substitute “Communist” and you get an idea of the “Red Scare” that swept the nation. The anti-Communist hysteria ginned up in the 1950s threatened civil liberties and poisoned the politics of the day.
But that couldn’t happen now, could it?