White supremacists and other domestic extremists maintain an active presence in U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies. A striking reference to that conclusion, notable for its confidence and the policy prescriptions that accompany it, appears in a classified FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide from April 2015, obtained by The Intercept. The guide, which details the process by which the FBI enters individuals on a terrorism watchlist, the Known or Suspected Terrorist File, notes that “domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers,” and explains in some detail how bureau policies have been crafted to take this infiltration into account.
Although these right-wing extremists have posed a growing threat for years, federal investigators have been reluctant to publicly address that threat or to point out the movement’s longstanding strategy of infiltrating the law enforcement community.
No centralized recruitment process or set of national standards exists for the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States, many of which have deep historical connections to racist ideologies. As a result, state and local police as well as sheriff’s departments present ample opportunities for white supremacists and other right-wing extremists looking to expand their power base.
The article also references a 2006 FBI internal intelligence assessment, which we talked about here back in July, that essentially reveals that the white supremacist groups’ have a “historical” interest in “infiltrating law enforcement communities and recruiting law enforcement personnel."
The intercept further reveals a couple of examples, such as a Chicago police detective, identified as a KKK member, referring to a device that delivered electric shocks as a "nigger box," while in Cleveland, officials found that a number of police officers had scrawled “racist or Nazi graffiti” throughout their department’s locker rooms.
In Texas, two police officers were fired when it was discovered they were Klansmen. One of them said he had tried to boost the organization’s membership by giving an application to a fellow officer he thought shared his “white, Christian, heterosexual values.”
The assessment also identified the term "ghost skin" which essentially meant a white supremacist who hid their racist tendencies so as to blend in at local police stations, allowing them to recruit like minded officers from within at their leisure.
The article further points out that things became much worse after President Obama was elected, with the white supremacists using the newly invigorated racism bubbling to the surface to recruit a large number of new members, often singling out “disgruntled military veterans” as likely targets for recruitment.
The article also points out that DHS has essentially stopped doing any investigation into white supremacist infiltration of the police, while the police do not screen applicants for membership in hate groups, which left the FBI to do the vast bulk of the work.
And that of course begs the question of whether or not the FBI will still feel compelled to continue these investigations in Trump's America, or if they will now also find themselves targeted by the newly energized white supremacist movement?
Or perhaps an even better question to ask is, have they already been infiltrated?
If you get my meaning.Trump just literally blew a kiss to James Comey at a WH reception for law enforcement pic.twitter.com/HwVq9DNdZd— Richard Hine (@richardhine) January 22, 2017