CBC, Top Dems Question FBI’s “Black Identity Extremists” Threat Report

Following The Beat DC’s reporting that the FBI had declared “Black Identity Extremists” as a major threat, CBC Chair Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Ranking MembersJohn Conyers, Jr. (D-MI/Judiciary), Bennie Thompson (D-MS/Homeland Security), andElijah Cummings (D-MD/Oversight) sent a letter to Director Christopher Wrayrequesting to meet about the origins of the assessment and how it will be used. In the letter sent on Friday, the members expressed significant concern about the assessment given the FBI’s “troubling history” of targeting Black citizens, includingMartin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders. “As you are no doubt aware, the FBI has a troubling history of utilizing its broad investigatory powers to target black citizens. During the 1960s, Director J. Edgar Hoover used the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) to surveil and discredit civil rights activists and members of the Black Panther Party. For example, the FBI falsified letters in an effort to blackmail Martin Luther King, Jr. into silence.   Given this history, and given several concerning actions this Administration has taken on racial issues, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are justifiably concerned about this FBI Assessment,” they wrote. They are requesting a written response by October 26th, warning that if the FBI fails to respond, “many of our Members and constituents will interpret a lack of response as confirmation that the FBI intends to unfairly target African Americans.” See their full letter here.

Brenda Arredondo