, 47 tweets, 15 min read Read on Twitter
1) Grab a cup of coffee and something to takes notes with.
It's time to dig into the Yahoo News report that the FBI views conspiracy theorists as a terror threat.
2) The mainstream media wrote their stories on the FBI Intelligence bulletin and moved on to other issues. They may be done with this, but I'm not.
3) I'm still researching this story but I wanted to get started on the thread.

At this point, I'm not prepared to make a definitive conclusion.

I'll lay out the information I've found so far and allow you to examine the evidence for yourself and come to your own conclusions.
4) The article about the FBI Intelligence bulletin was published by Yahoo News. The byline says it was written by @janawinter though she credited Michael @Isikoff for coming up with the lede.

5) Yahoo News reported 2 days ago:
"The FBI for the first time has identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorist threat, according to a previously unpublicized document obtained by Yahoo News"
6) Yahoo has published many articles about conspiracy theories. Lately, their focus has been on #Qanon.

You may have noticed that other news outlets have published an unusual number of articles about Q.
7) I've read a lot of articles on Q and have yet to read a single mainstream sourced article that had anything positive to say. Even conservative news outlets have given 100% negative coverage to #Qanon.
8) @Jordan_Sather_ did a thread pointing out a few suspicious things about the FBI Intelligence bulletin in Yahoo's article.

His thread got me thinking and I decided to do a little research.
9) My concern is that the FBI Intelligence bulletin linked to in the article is hosted on a private Scribd account and not a government website.
10) When you make claims regarding the FBI's position on matters of terrorism or national security the responsible thing to do is provide as much information as possible about how you obtained your information.
11) ACLJ and Judicial Watch provide intelligence products and declassified government documents they've received. They always provide details on FOIA requests and any other means they've used to obtain non-public documents.
12) On Friday, I contacted @janawinter and asked her, politely, if she would provide a link to a government website for the FBI Intelligence bulletin that was linked in her article.

She has not responded.
13) I thought I might try to obtain a government verified copy of the intelligence bulletin through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
14) The government's FOIA website encourages you to search its database of previously released documents before you file a FOIA request.

15) Here's the top part of page 1 of the Intelligence bulletin that was linked in Yahoo's article.

I used the first 7 words of the subject line to do a FOIA search

16) Using the first 7 words in the subject line, found no matches on the FOIA database.

17) I tried other search terms found in the document and came up with the same results. The fact that my search returned no results doesn't prove the document was n't obtained via FOIA but it is concerning.
18) One would think if an FBI intelligence bulletin had been obtained through a FOIA request, it would be found in the database.

There are other ways to obtain government documents and we'll look at those shortly.
19) I filed a FOIA request for the FBI's intelligence bulletin. If I receive any information through that request, I'll let you know.
20) My next step was to see if I could verify the bulletin's authenticity by contacting the FBI. The document was reported to have originated in the FBI's Phoenix Field office. I called them and they referred me to their National Press Office.
21) The FBI would neither confirm or deny the authenticity of Yahoo's Intelligence bulletin. They did say they sometimes share information with their law enforcement partners.
22) The email provided links to videos where leaders from the FBI, DOJ and Department of Homeland Security discussed their agency's policies, practices and philosophies on stopping terrorism and protecting the first amendment.
23) I've watched all the videos and I'd like to highlight some of the key takeaways from each one. I think the answer the Bureau wanted to give me but could not is hidden in them.
24) The first video is of general interest. This was taken from the Senate Judiciary hearing on July 23rd where FBI Director Chris Wray described the changes he's made to the Bureau.
25) Wray responded to Dick Durbin's question by explaining the 2 broad categories the Bureau uses to describe acts of violence caused by extremists.
The FBI identifies Domestic Violent Extremism (DV) or (DVE) and Homegrown Violent Extremism (HV) or HVE).
26) FBI Director Wray explained that from his perspective, Homegrown Violent Extremism (HVE) that is connected to a foreign terrorist group like ISIS is the greatest terror threat but he still takes Domestic Extremism (DE) seriously.
27) FBI Director Chris Wray explained that the Bureau does not "investigate ideology."

They investigate violence, and their approach is more or less indifferent to ideology.
28) Chris Wray responded to Ted Cruz who asked what the FBI is doing to investigate Antifa.

Wray reiterated that the Bureau doesn't investigate ideologies. They investigate violence.

He also pointed out that Antifa is considered an ideology and not an organization.
29) Wray confirmed to Cory Booker that the FBI previously used many categories for various types of domestic violent extremism but now uses a few broader categories.
30) In 2017, the FBI published a Law Enforcement Sensitive Intelligence Assessment on shootings against law enforcement officers that in the Bureau's view, were connected to "Black Identity Extremism."

FBI Vault link to the document: vault.fbi.gov/black-identity…
31) The fact that the Bureau identified blacks with violent extremism set off a firestorm in the media and among politicians and activist groups.
32) Wray explained to Cory Booker that the FBI no longer uses the term "Black Identity Extremism."

The new category they use is "Racially Motivated Violent Extremism" which encompasses several categories that were previously used.
33) Cory Booker seemed happy that Black Identity Extremism was no longer used but concerned that White Supremacy Extremism was no longer used either.

Wray reiterated that the Bureau is more or less uninterested with any particular ideology. They investigate acts of violence.
34) The next link the FBI sent me was to a hearing with leaders from several agencies including DOJ National Security Division Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brad Wegman.

Wiegman explained in his opening statement how the Department of Justice protects the first amendment.
35) For those of you who were disappointed by the DOJ's decision not to prosecute James Comey for leaking memos take heart, in this segment, Wiegman explained that the DOJ prosecutes the most serious and readily provable [slam dunk] charges.
36) Wiegman described the definition of a hate crime.
37) Wiegman contrasted the Department of Justice's need to prosecute violent crimes with its mandate to protect the liberties guaranteed by the first amendment.
38) Wiegman explained the actions the DOJ or FBI can take if someone posts a manifesto or other extremist action online and reiterated the restrictions they run up against due to the first amendment.
39) There are currently no criminal domestic terrorism charges the DOJ can apply to a terrorist act.
The reason is that it would require Congress to pick certain groups and identify them as terror organizations. No one would want their pet organization to be identified as one.
40) Think about the May 30, 2019, FBI Intelligence bulletin claiming that conspiracy theorists have been identified by the Bureau as a potential terrorist threat.

Would such an assessment be consistent with the Bureau's current philosophy on domestic terrorism?
41) I'm just getting warmed up.

Meet Mike McGarrity, the Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division.

McGarrity explained the Bureau's foreign and domestic terrorism categories.
42) Mcgarrity explained that foreign and domestic terror threats are handled differently. The government designates foreign terror organizations allowing certain actions to be taken against them. Domestic terror is identified as an ideology and not an organization.
43) McGarrity explained that the FBI no longer uses terms like white supremacy or black identity extremism. They focus on the violence and not the ideology.
44) McGarrity addressed concerns that 8chan is promoting violence and that messages posted there should be removed.

(Now I wonder who that would be referring to.)
45) Sheila Jackson Lee wanted the witnesses to make violence committed by white nationalists their highest priority.

In this clip, we hear Wiegman from DOJ and Brian Murphy from Homeland Security answer.
46) Some people understand the changes in policy and philosophy toward violent extremism while others do not.

And it's the change in philosophy that concerns me regarding the Yahoo news article.
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