The Federal Bureau of Investigations produces a classified report describing “Black Identity Extremists” as a new domestic terrorist threat.
It’s unknown when the phrase, or BIEs for short, is first used by the FBI, but August 3rd is the first time it appears in a report.
The report, dated Aug. 3 — just nine days before the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville turned deadly — appears to be the first known reference to “black identity extremists” as a movement. But former government officials and legal experts 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.
A former senior counterterrorism and intelligence official from the Department of Homeland Security who reviewed the document at FP’s request expressed shock at the language.
“This is a new umbrella designation that has no basis,” the former official said. “There are civil rights and privacy issues all over this.”
The claim is so absurd and baseless, especially given an increasing number of far-right white supremacist attacks in the country, that the FBI stops using the phrase to identify Black Lives Matter protesters less than six months later.
In 2019, the director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division admits that the Bureau could not identify a single murder by any member of a black activist group.
Photo: Ken Fager