FBI, DHS Warned In May: ‘Persistent Threat’ Of White Supremacist Violence

Alt Right demonstrators walk into Lee park surrounded by counter demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
White nationalist demonstrators walk into Lee park surrounded by counter demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot g... White nationalist demonstrators walk into Lee park surrounded by counter demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot gear ordered people to disperse after chaotic violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protestors. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) MORE LESS

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security in May warned of the likelihood that white supremacist groups would “continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year,” months before violence erupted Saturday at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In an unclassified joint intelligence bulletin obtained by Foreign Policy, titled “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat Of Lethal Violence,” the FBI and DHS reviewed “lethal and potentially lethal incidents” of violence committed by white supremacists from 2000–2016.

The FBI and DHS concluded that violence in 2017 would likely “continue to be spontaneous and involve targets of opportunity,” but did not rule out the possibility of “plot-derived mass-casualty violence.” They projected that such violence would “derive from the capabilities of lone offenders or small cells, rather than the resources of larger groups, due to the decentralized and often disorganized status of the WSE movement.”

Torch-bearing white supremacists descended on Charlottesville en masse over the weekend to protest the removal of a statue memorializing Confederate general Robert E. Lee. One person died after a driver rammed into a crowd of protesters, and dozens of people were injured.

President Donald Trump failed to condemn white supremacists in his statement responding to the violence, instead condemning “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.” As of midday Monday, he had not amended his statement or responded to backlash against his apparent equivocation.

Read the bulletin below, via Foreign Policy:

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