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FBI Still Failing to Address White Supremacist Violence, Ex-Agent Says

The FBI is failing to address the rising scourge of white supremacist violence despite stark warnings that such attacks pose the greatest domestic terrorism threat in the U.S., says former agent Michael German. German, who infiltrated white supremacist groups in the 1990s, said the bureau continues to underplay the scope of the threat. As a result, communities targeted by white supremacists and far-right militia groups – such as the largely African American neighborhood of Buffalo, where 10 people were killed by a suspected racist gunman, are left fatally exposed, The Guardian reports. Law enforcement is "not actually investigating the crimes that occur,” said German, a fellow with the Brennan Center at New York University School of Law.

Numerous studies have pinpointed white supremacy as the greatest domestic terrorism threat in America today. German said the FBI is lagging. Despite a clear mandate from Congress, the bureau has yet to produce statistics revealing the scale of white supremacist crimes. “White supremacists kill far more Americans than anybody else the FBI designates as domestic terrorists, yet the bureau still doesn’t document the crimes and fatalities that occur," German says. He believes that designations like “hate crime” and “racially motivated violent extremism” are problematic as applied to white supremacist incidents. The FBI defers most acts deemed to be hate crimes to state and local police for investigation, while many police agencies "don’t record or may not even investigate hate crimes, so the incident gets lost,” German said. Surveys based on experiences of crime victims have recorded more than 200,000 hate crimes each year. The average number of hate crime cases prosecuted by DOJ annually is 21. German said it was puzzling that the FBI, which effectively turned itself into a counter-terrorism intelligence agency after 9/11, was so lax in its handling of white supremacy.

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