In the wake of Charlottesville, instead of increasing surveillance of white supremacist groups, Trump’s DOJ decided to spy on African Americans instead.
Why? They were worried about retaliation by black people against law enforcement officers — not the hate and violence that thousands of white supremacists, KKK members and Neo-Nazis visited upon the Virginia city.
As I explain in the book, in October 2017, the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division declared that “black identity extremists” (BIEs) were increasingly planning acts of violence against U.S. law enforcement.
“The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement,” the bureau said. “It is very likely incidents of alleged police abuse against African Americans since then have continued to feed the resurgence in ideologically motivated, violent criminal activity within the BIE movement,” the report claimed.
So how can government agents tell a BIE apart from other African Americans? The apparent signs are any black person who engages in “advocating for violence against law enforcement, violent anti-white rhetoric [emphasis added], attempts to acquire illegal weapons or explosives, and affiliations with others in both the BIE and sovereign citizen extremist movements.”
But here’s the thing. The government apparently just made the term “BIE” up out of whole cloth.
There is no such thing.
According to Foreign Policy, which leaked the FBI document, the reference “appears to be the first known reference to ‘black identity extremists’ as a movement.” The journal interviewed a number of former government officials and legal experts who, “said no such movement exists, and some expressed concern that the term is part of a politically motivated effort to find an equivalent threat to white supremacists.”
The journal said the term itself, BIE, was entirely new, having found just five references in a Google search, all of them police documents about domestic terrorism over the past two months.
One former senior DHS official expressed “shock” after reviewing the report. “This is a new umbrella designation that has no basis,” he said. “There are civil rights and privacy issues all over this.”
“They are grouping together Black Panthers, black nationalists, and Washitaw Nation,” he said. “Imagine lumping together white nationals, white supremacists, militias, neo-Nazis, and calling it ‘white identity extremists.’”