By Michael Harriot, The Root
Last week, as Donald Trump curtsied before the Queen; as Congressional Democrats continued to cower from their constitutional obligations; while we took our horses down to Old Town Road, mounted Megan Thee Stallion’s bandwagon and watched what happens When They See Us, the Federal Bureau of Investigation admitted that prejudiced assumptions against the Black Lives Matter movement, Muslim Americans and Black identity extremists was all a lie. Intelligence officials sat in front of lawmakers and openly admitted that white supremacists and right-wing violence are the biggest domestic terror threat but also admitted that federal agencies aren’t really doing anything about it.
On Tuesday, June 4, the House Oversight subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties held the second session in a series of hearings titled: “Confronting White Supremacy.” Among those testifying before the subcommittee was Michael C. McGarrity, the director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. McGarrity explained that right-wing extremists like the Tree of Life Synagogue shooter in Pittsburgh were charged with hate crimes instead of domestic terrorism simply because “there’s no domestic terrorism charge.
To be clear, there is a law that defines domestic terrorism but not one that charges people who commit acts of terrorism in America. People who conspire with international terrorists—even if they aren’t materially involved in an act of violence—are charged with “acts of terrorism transcending international boundaries.” But someone who sends pipe bombs to Democrats; plows through a crowd of anti-racism protesters in Charlottesville, Va.; or shoots up a church in Charleston, S.C., will not face domestic terrorism charges.
The subcommittee noted that there was a 17 percent increase in reported hate crimes in 2017 from the previous year and a 31 percent increase since 2014. And in spite of the ADL’s report that white supremacists were responsible for 78 percent of extremist murders in 2018, the FBI still dedicates most of its time, money and manpower to investigating and stopping international terrorism. According to the Daily Beast, the Trump administration even disbanded a unit in the Department of Homeland Security dedicated to domestic terrorism and right-wing extremists, upsetting many intelligence and law enforcement officials.
“The FBI has testified the bureau allocates its resources almost exactly backwards than the problem would suggest,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said. “Devoting 80 percent of field agents to stopping international terrorism including Islamic extremism and only 20 percent to stopping domestic terrorism including far right and white supremacist extremism.”
Not only did McGarrity concede that people labeled as “Black identity extremists” had nothing in common except their skin color, but Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s (D-Mass.) question about the FBI’s “Black Identity extremist” designation prompted a startling revelation from McGarrity.
When Pressley pressed McGarrity on the secret “race paper” and the Black identity extremist designation first uncovered in the 12-page FBI document called “Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers,” the counterterrorism director revealed that the FBI no longer uses the term.
“The designation no longer exists?” Pressley asked.
“It hasn’t existed since I’ve been here for 17 months,” McGarrity replied. “We are not using ‘Black identity extremists’ as a term or for a group.”
And despite the insistence of the president, Steve King and every guest on Fox News that there are bad people on “both sides,” including Black Lives Matter terrorists, McGarrity disclosed the astonishing number of people who have been killed by Black Lives Matter terrorists:
Pressley: How many extremist murders has the FBI linked to Black Lives Matter or similar Black activist groups?
McGarrity: We don’t work Black Lives Matter it’s a movement. It’s an ideology. We don’t work that.
Pressley: So the answer is none. Can you just say that for the record? There has been no killing that the FBI can link to Black Lives Matter or similar black activist groups, to your knowledge.
McGarrity: To my knowledge—I’d have to go back—but to my knowledge, right now, no.
When it comes to any form of resistance or fight for equality, America will always paint Black people as terrorists. Law enforcement officers always knew this was bullshit. The FBI was fully aware that Black Lives Matter posed no threat, but COINTELPRO is constantly updated to monitor every movement for freedom and equality, including “defiant” anti-lynching advocates, the “Un-American, communist-inspired” civil rights protests and the Black Power movement that FBI officials called “the greatest threat to internal security of the country.”
“To recap: The FBI created a new category of threat,” NPR’s Hannah Allam noted. “[A]nd two years later quietly abandoned it without explanation.”
But when it comes to white people’s stance on Black protest, as the great poet and philosopher Montero Lamar Hill once said: “Can’t nobody tell me nothing.”
They can’t tell me nothing.
This article originally appeared in The Root.