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CBC Task Force on Foreign Affairs and National Security Hosts Briefing Examining FBI Black Identity Extremism Report

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Washington, March 20, 2018 | comments

Today, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) –  led by CBC Foreign Affairs and National Security Task Force co-chair Congressmember Karen Bass (D-CA-37) – hosted a hearing-style briefing featuring experts and activists from around the country to examine and investigate the FBI’s August 2017 report that asserted that "Black Identity Extremists" (BIE) are likely motivated to target law enforcement officers.

“Evidence and testimony at today's hearing raised further questions about the origins about this report,” said Rep. Bass. “The need for a total retraction of this report is absolutely imperative so that the follow up message sent to the 16,000 local offices that received the initial report is one of lawful protection and service, not one of bigoted investigation and surveillance. I’m thankful for my colleagues in the CBC who continue to shine light on this important issue.”

The hearing featured two former FBI officers, Dr. Erroll G. Southers and Michael German, in addition to Nana Gyamfi, a human rights and criminal defense attorney. All three condemned the report.

“The assessment is of such poor analytic quality that it raises serious questions about the FBI’s purpose in producing it,” Mr. German said in his opening remarks. “What is most troubling about the BIE assessment is its potential to incite irrational police fear of black political activists. Irrational fear, unfortunately, too often in the past translated into unnecessary police violence against unarmed and unthreatening black men and women.”

You can watch the entire hearing here and view photos from the hearing here.

Today’s briefing follows a meeting between Members of the CBC and FBI Director Christopher Wray held back in November of 2017. The Caucus also sent a letter in October of 2017 to the FBI requesting information regarding the issue but questions raised in the letter still have not been answered. Many members of the CBC have raised this issue with Attorney General Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and FBI Director Wray when they have appeared before various House Committees. The CBC plans to further examine this issue.

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