Following pressure from #ProtectBlackDissent campaign, Committee on Homeland Security requests briefing and additional documents from FBI
CONTACT: Imran Siddiquee, [email protected], 217-390-6279
Washington D.C. — Responding to advocacy done by MediaJustice, ACLU, and other allied civil rights organizations, today Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA) of the Committee on Homeland Security sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray “requesting documents and a briefing from the FBI in light of additional reporting on the Bureau’s controversial ‘Black Identity Extremists’ (BIEs) classification.” This follows a flurry of #ProtectBlackDissent campaign activities led by MediaJustice over the summer, including a delegation of Black activists who met face-to-face with the offices of Rep. Thompson and others on Capitol Hill in July, and a coalition letter sent to Congress in September, urging a wider investigation into the FBI’s targeting of Black activists.
“We are pleased to see the House Homeland Security Committee push for real transparency from the FBI. The public deserves to know why the FBI under Trump has continued to prioritize surveilling Black activists while minimizing the threat of white supremacy,” said Myaisha Hayes, Field Organizer on Criminal Justice and Technology at MediaJustice. “As recent news leaks have revealed, the FBI’s legacy of spying on Black communities is alive and well in the form of IRON FIST and other domestic terrorism programs. At the same time, white supremacist violence is on the rise and harming communities of color. We must continue to protect Black dissent and demand answers from the FBI.”
Thousands of advocates have signed petitions, sent tweets, and made phone calls to their House representatives as part of the #ProtectBlackDissent campaign this year, demanding that Congressional leaders take action in the face of the FBI’s refusal to be transparent about the BIE categorization. Today’s letter from the Committee on Homeland Security responds to specific requests made by the campaign in July, the March 2019 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU and MediaJustice seeking records about FBI targeting of Black activists, as well as an August 2019 report by The Young Turks, “Leaked FBI Documents Reveal Bureau’s Priorities Under Trump.”