Washington, D.C.—Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued the following statement in response to the FBI’s abandonment of its “Black Identity Extremism” designation. In testimony from FBI Director Christopher Wray during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Director Wray indicated that the “BIE” designation had been eliminated. Wray also indicated that the Bureau is now focused on “racially motivated violent extremism.”
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued the following statement in response: “The abandonment of the FBI’s “Black Identity Extremism” category is a win for civil rights lawyers and advocates who have fought to expose the agency’s manufactured, false threat category. The “Black Identity Extremism” harkened back to the darkest days of the Civil Rights Movement, when the agency abused its power and resources to silence the work of African American activists. Despite this, we must remain vigilant as the Bureau carries out its intelligence activities in this era. It is critical that the Bureau continue to track the very real threat of white supremacist violence, and call it out by its name.
Clarke continued, “while we are pleased at the elimination of the “Black Identity Extremism” category, we remain concerned that the new categorization of ”racially-motivated violent extremism” inappropriately dilutes the very real threat of white supremacist violence that we face across the country today.”