By Cheyenne Majeed, Howard University News Service
Washington– Former FBI agent and writer, Mike German, spoke extensively about corruption in the FBI, their lack of transparency, white supremacist groups and terrorism at his book launch “Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide: How the New FBI Damages Democracy.” at NYU’s Abramson Family Auditorium in Washington, D.C on Sept. 12. The conversation featured moderator Senior Washington News Correspondent, Kimberly Atkins.
German said the book describes his journey as an FBI agent, mostly focusing on the organization’s change after the 9/11 attacks and the newfound motives of the FBI because of it. He explains how the FBI redirected its focus on terrorism and ultimately and why in his opinion it began to destroy the FBI’s mission and motive.
“A lot of crimes go unnoticed because the focus is on terrorist attacks,” German said. German believes the agency’s fixation on terrorism is a factor in its ‘downfall.’
“The FBI uses race, religion and natural origin,” German said, as he believes they focus on ideology rather than criminal behavior, diminishing the importance of suspecting a criminal.
In 2004, German left the FBI after reporting to Congress the FBI’s flawed counterterrorism operations. German wants a change in the architecture of the agency. “Holistically, there needs to be a turn in focus to look at all crimes,” German said.
German’s speech touched the audience and also introduced to some issues they were unaware of such as the leaked Black Identity Extremism documents created by the FBI. These documents described police safety concerns about allegedly violent African American activists in the United States. Police departments across America were sent these documents.
“I actually didn’t know about the memo he was talking about on the black identity extremist. I was like how have I not heard about this? So I’m definitely going to look into that after this,” said Alison Glomsly, who works for a small consulting firm and lives in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood.
Another individual said the speech help put things in perspective for her.
“I do a lot of advocacy work on the FBI, but it was fascinating to hear Mike talk about the management issues and the FBI as this institution rather than a police agency and the way that it impacts how the FBI crushes our rights,” Sue Udry, who works at a civil liberties organization said.
German also called for the FBI to diversify more. During his time, he would have liked to see a woman as a director. He believes it would have been a great addition.
Despite everything, German wants to see the FBI transform into want the public needs them to be: fair and just.