Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) issued a letter on Tuesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding an urgent briefing on how the agency is addressing extremist efforts to infiltrate law enforcement and the military.
“I am deeply concerned that the bureau dismissed this threat last year and instead characterized the threat of white-supremacist infiltration of law enforcement as a hypothetical problem that has not materialized,” Raskin who chairs the House Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee wrote in the letter, which was first reported by ABC News. “For the above reasons, I am requesting a member briefing on this topic no later than March 26, 2021.”
Raskin was among a group of House managers who delivered arguments in the Senate’s impeachment trail against former President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in January.
His letter requesting the subcommittee briefing comes after a report from ABC this week detailing a confidential FBI intelligence assessment about the ongoing issue of white supremacists and other right-wing extremists infiltrating the ranks of the police and military.
“They’re still attempting to recruit veterans and current members who are in military service or public service,” Nate Snyder, a former DHS counterterrorism official, told TPM of the problem. “This would be a whole interagency, whole-of-government approach if we were serious about it.”
In September, Raskin had released an unredacted version of a 2006 Intelligence Assessment by the FBI entitled, “White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement,” that pointed at an ongoing threat of white supremacists in law enforcement even as the agency under the Trump administration appeared to deny the threat.
Raskin said in his letter that Jan. 6 provided irrefutable proof of white supremacists taking root among law enforcement “when off-duty law enforcement officers participated in the violent insurrection against Congress.”
Dozens of Capitol rioters with law enforcement training participated in the effort to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6 that ultimately overwhelmed Capitol police, and left at least five people including a Capitol police officer dead.
“Given the FBI’s refusal just last year to admit that extremist police officers posed a serious threat to our Nation’s security, I am now concerned that the Bureau lacks an adequate strategy to respond to this clear and present danger to public safety,” Raskin added.
Last month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the nation’s military members would undertake a 60-day “stand down” in a first step aimed at rooting out extremism in the military.
Addressing white supremacy is a thornier issue among law enforcement given that the federal government has fewer tools to assess the issue in state and local police departments.
Josh Kovensky contributed reporting.