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.
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.
“This is a fundamental problem in this country: We simply do not take this flexible, and forgiving, and exceptionally understanding approach for combating any other form of terrorism,” said Samuel Jones, a professor of law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago . “Anybody who’s on social media advocating support for ISIS can be criminally charged with very little effort.”
“For some reason, we have stepped away from the threat of domestic terrorism and right-wing extremism,” Jones continued. “The only way we can reconcile this kind of behavior is if we accept the possibility that the ideology that permeates white nationalists and white supremacists is something that many in our federal and law enforcement communities understand and may be in sympathy with.”