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FBI secretly targeting Trump supporters ahead of 2024 election, labels MAGA followers as 'domestic violent extremists': Report
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FBI secretly targeting Trump supporters ahead of 2024 election, labels MAGA followers as 'domestic violent extremists': Report

The FBI reportedly is secretly targeting supporters of former President Donald Trump ahead of the 2024 election, according to a new report.

During a three-month investigation, Newsweek spoke to more than a dozen current or former government officials specializing in terrorism. The experts revealed that the FBI is covertly monitoring MAGA Republicans because the domestic intelligence agency suspects that Trump supporters are the greatest threat of violence – possibly even capable of starting a civil war.

The in-depth probe reportedly found that the FBI clandestinely created a new category of violent domestic extremists that it intends to target: Make America Great Again followers.

In October 2022, the Federal Bureau of Investigation created a new subcategory of domestic terrorists labeled AGAAVE – which stands for anti-government, anti-authority violent extremism. The new subcategory is a threat group that is not anarchists, a militia, or sovereign citizen groups.

The new classification is officially defined as "domestic violent extremists who cite anti-government or anti-authority motivations for violence or criminal activity not otherwise defined, such as individuals motivated by a desire to commit violence against those with a real or perceived association with a specific political party or faction of a specific political party."

The outlet reported, "Government insiders acknowledged to Newsweek that although they are not named specifically, the AGAAVE-Other title applies to political violence associated with Trump supporters."

"It was a subtle change, little noticed, but a gigantic departure for the Bureau," according to Newsweek. "Trump and his army of supporters were acknowledged as a distinct category of domestic violent extremists, even as the FBI was saying publicly that political views were never part of its criteria to investigate or prevent domestic terrorism. Where the FBI sees threats is also plain from the way it categorizes them — a system which on the surface is designed to appear nonpartisan. This shifted subtly days after the events of January 6 when it comes to what the Bureau calls AGAAVE."

The FBI said in a statement to Newsweek: "The threat posed by domestic violent extremists is persistent, evolving, and deadly. The FBI's goal is to detect and stop terrorist attacks, and our focus is on potential criminal violations, violence, and threats of violence. Anti-government or anti-authority violent extremism is one category of domestic terrorism, as well as one of the FBI's top threat priorities. We are committed to protecting the safety and constitutional rights of all Americans and will never open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity, including a person's political beliefs or affiliations."

An anonymous senior intelligence official told Newsweek, "We've crossed the Rubicon. Trump's army constitutes the greatest threat of violence domestically ... politically ... that's the reality and the problem set. That's what the FBI, as a law enforcement agency, has to deal with. But whether Trump and his supporters are a threat to national security, to the country, whether they represent a threat of civil war? That's a trickier question. And that's for the country to deal with, not the FBI."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security issued a report to Congress that warned:

The IC assesses that domestic violent extremists (DVEs) who are motivated by a range of ideologies and galvanized by recent political and societal events in the United States pose an elevated threat to the Homeland in 2021. Enduring DVE motivations pertaining to biases against minority populations and perceived government overreach will almost certainly continue to drive DVE radicalization and mobilization to violence. Newer sociopolitical developments -­ such as narratives of fraud in the recent general election, the emboldening impact of the violent breach of the U.S. Capitol, conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and conspiracy theories promoting violence will almost certainly spur some DVEs to try to engage in violence this year.

Newsweek noted that by the FBI zeroing in on Trump supporters, the federal agency "runs the risk of provoking the very anti-government activists that the terrorism agencies hope to counter."

Sen. Gary Peters – a Democrat representing Michigan who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee – claimed that the FBI isn't doing enough to fight the "full scope of white supremacist terrorist attacks."

President Joe Biden has repeatedly claimed that the MAGA movement is a threat to the country.

In May 2022, Biden said of Trump supporters, "Because this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history, in recent American history."

In August 2022, Biden said the MAGA philosophy is "like semi-fascism."

In September 2022, Biden said, "Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic."

A senior intelligence official who works at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence explained that "Biden's rhetoric on domestic terrorism could goad his opponents into taking more extreme action — particularly those who have lost their faith in elections or believe the system is rigged against them."

"So we have the president increasing his own inflammatory rhetoric, which leads Donald Trump and the Republicans to do the same, which influences the news media, which influences the rhetoric," the official said. "The FBI? It's just in the middle of this mess, probably heading for trouble but mostly left out on a limb by the anger and indifference of the American public."

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