He Spent a Decade Undercover in the KKK, Is Speaking Out

Joseph Moore has been living under a new name since 2018
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 25, 2021 3:45 PM CST
He Spent a Decade Undercover in the KKK, Is Speaking Out
Joseph Moore stands in the driveway of his home in Jacksonville, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.   (AP Photo/Robert Bumsted)

For nearly 10 years, Joseph Moore lived a secret double life. At times the US Army veteran donned a white robe and hood as a hit man for the Ku Klux Klan in North Florida. He attended clandestine meetings and participated in cross burnings. He even helped plan the murder of a Black man. However, Moore wore something else during his years in the klan—a wire for the FBI. The married father of four would help the federal government foil at least two murder plots, according to court records from the criminal trial for two of the klansmen. He was also an active informant when the FBI exposed klan members working as law enforcement officers in Florida at the city, county, and state levels.

Since 2018, he and his family have lived under new names in a Florida subdivision of manicured lawns. Apart from testifying in court, the 50-year-old has never discussed his undercover work in the KKK publicly. But he reached out to a reporter after the AP published a series of stories about white supremacists working in Florida’s prisons that were based, in part, on records and recordings detailing his work with the FBI. Moore was not a klansman before working for the FBI, he said. He said he joined because the government approached him, and asked for his help.

The FBI first asked Moore to infiltrate a klan group called the United Northern and Southern Knights of the KKK in rural north Florida in 2007. At klan gatherings, Moore noted license plate numbers and other identifying information of suspected law enforcement officers who were members along with connections between the hate group and law enforcement in Florida and Georgia. He said he came across dozens of police officers, prison guards, sheriff deputies, and other law enforcement officers who were involved with the klan and outlaw motorcycle clubs. "From where I sat, with the intelligence laid out, I can tell you that none of these agencies have any control over any of it. It is more prevalent and consequential than any of them are willing to admit."

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He said he never adopted the KKK's racist ideology. To keep a lifeline to his true character, Moore claims to have never used racial slurs while in character; on FBI recordings reviewed by the AP, he was never heard using racial slurs like his former klan brothers. But he also acknowledges that successful undercover work required him to change into a wholly different person and lie to his wife. Today Moore is worried that the men he helped put into prison know where he is and are looking for revenge. They’re all due out in a few years. Moore has installed motion-detecting surveillance cameras outside the home that allow him to monitor any activity, and carries a gun everywhere he goes. (Read the very lengthy full story.)

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