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FBI's Report on 'Black Identity Extremists' Stirs Old Fears

Some dread a return to the days when the bureau spied on leaders of the Civil Rights movement
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 19, 2017 10:30 AM CST

(Newser) – An FBI report on the rise of black "extremists" is stirring fears of a return to practices used during the civil rights movement, when the bureau spied on activist groups without evidence they had broken any laws, the AP reports. The FBI said it doesn't target specific groups, and the report is one of many its intelligence analysts produce to make law enforcement aware of what they see as emerging trends. A similar bulletin on white supremacists, for example, came out about the same time. The 12-page report, issued in August, says "black identity extremists" are increasingly targeting law enforcement after police killings of black men. The report describes cases in which "extremists" had "acted in retaliation for perceived past police brutality incidents." It warned that such violence was likely to continue.

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Black leaders and activists were outraged after Foreign Policy revealed the existence of the report last month. The Congressional Black Caucus, in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, said the report "conflates black political activists with dangerous domestic terrorist organizations" and would further erode the frayed relationship between police and minority communities. The FBI noted it issued a similar bulletin warning of retaliatory violence by "black separatist extremists" in March 2016, when the country had a black president, Barack Obama, and black attorney general, Loretta Lynch. Current Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not ease lawmakers' concerns when he was unable to answer questions about the report or its origins during a congressional hearing this past week.

(Read more FBI stories.)

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