The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) helped monitor at least two different Black Lives Matter events in July 2016 amidst worries from authorities that BLM members might defect to ISIS.
Law enforcement and police in Ocala, Florida, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, asked for FBI assistance in assessing and collecting intelligence regarding potential violent threats, according to partially redacted FBI memos and emails released to MuckRock.
One day after five Dallas police officers were killed at a July 7 Black Lives Matter protest, authorities from the Oklahoma City Police Department requested FBI help with “liaison and intel support” ahead of an upcoming BLM protest in the city. The Oklahoma CityPolice Department told the FBI that they had been tipped off to a possible ISIS bomber in Oklahoma City, according to MuckRock. The publication reports that the FBI agreed to help and specifically mentioned the Dallas shootings as their reason for doing so.
While the released memos and emails did not contain evidence that the ISIS bomber threat was real, the tip reflects a period when authorities feared that Black Lives Matter protesters might decide to join ISIS. Following the 2015 protests in Baltimore, Maryland, and Ferguson, Missouri, Department of Homeland Security officials expressed concerns that the Islamic State might push “Baltimore rioters to join them” or try to “use the situation in Ferguson as a recruitment tool,” according to The Intercept.
The publication reports that when Black Lives Matter protested the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in 2016, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence sent out a memo warning that a pro-Al Qaeda Facebook user was attempting to use the protests to push “‘Black’ Americans to take up arms” and to “start armed war against the US government.”
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