Lawmakers Seek Answers From FBI, DHS on Protest Involvement

Washington Metropolitan Police officers, U.S. Park Police mounted officers, the District of Columbia National Guard Military Police and Department of Homeland Security officers watch as demonstrators near the White House June 1.

Washington Metropolitan Police officers, U.S. Park Police mounted officers, the District of Columbia National Guard Military Police and Department of Homeland Security officers watch as demonstrators near the White House June 1. Alex Brandon/AP

The House Committee on Homeland Security also wants to know how many personnel the agencies dispatched to address the protests.

Amid conflicting reports regarding which extremist groups are participating in numerous protests around the country, Democrat lawmakers on the Committee on Homeland Security want answers from the Department of Homeland Security and FBI.

In a June 2 letter from Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the committee asks FBI Director Chris Wray and DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf to provide intelligence products from the agencies regarding the protests and a slew of other documents.

The letter also requests a briefing from both leaders by June 12 regarding their response to the protests, which stem from the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd by police in Minnesota last week.

“Recent media reports and statements by Minnesota state officials have suggested that extremists, including far-right extremists and white supremacist extremists, have attempted to sow chaos and fuel unrest during these protests,” the letter states. “Federal officials, including the Attorney General and President, have suggested that far-left extremists are involved. We have serious concerns about the Constitutional implications of several of these statements. We also seek to understand the truth and evidence behind reports of extremist involvement in protests and how the DHS the FBI are responding to these issues while ensuring that Americans’ civil rights and civil liberties are protected.”

The committee is also looking for the number of federal employees dispatched to deal with the protests and documents related to the surveillance of protestors.

Specifically, the committee seeks:

  • All DHS and FBI intelligence products related to the ongoing protests, including all products disseminated to law enforcement partners on this topic.
  • All documents referring or relating to the designation of groups or organizations as domestic terrorist organizations, including any analyses of the application of relevant federal statutes and the Constitution to such a designation.
  • All documents referring or related to the deployment of DHS employees and assets, including Customs and Border Protection employees and assets, to respond to protests, including the underlying request(s) for assistance from DHS from federal, state, or local law enforcement partners, the scope and purpose of deployment, and any analyses of the application of relevant federal statutes.
  • All documents related to the surveillance of protestors, including any requests made by Administration officials, such as the National Security Adviser, for the FBI to conduct surveillance of particular groups of protestors.

Officials from DHS and FBI did not respond to requests for comment. 

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