Congressional Black Caucus members on Thursday held discussions with FBI Director Christopher Wray for a second consecutive day to air their concerns about the bureau’s report that labeled the Black Lives Matter collective as “Black Identity Extremists,” NBC News reported.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to talk to this director compared to our relationship with the Justice Department. We think that his background, and we will give the benefit of the doubt based on his actions, words, and background today, that he is really trying to lead the FBI in a very transparent, fair way,” CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) said after the initial meeting on Wednesday, adding that it was a “good first step.”
On Wednesday, several CBC members, including Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), spoke with Wray for almost two hours about the report, titled “Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers,” which was written in August. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI had been monitoring BLM protests and circulated information in 2016 to law enforcement agencies about possible threats to police officers, according to internal documents obtained through a lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Color of Change. The FBI also feared that Black radical groups would launch violent attacks on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in 2016.
Richmond said Wray elaborated on the origin of the report and took responsibility for it–even though the surveillance and assessment of the activists occurred before he was appointed director of the agency. The congressman told the director that the characterization of BLM is “inaccurate.” Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions denied at a congressional hearing that he saw the report when asked by Black lawmakers. That denial prompted Bass to ask him whether the FBI produced a similar report on the Ku Klux Klan and other White supremacist groups. Sessions said he is unaware of a similar study about White hate groups.
SOURCE: NBC News