Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama

CBC Holds Briefing on FBI “Black Identity Extremist” Designation

Mar 20, 2018
Press Release
Lawmakers and witnesses express concern over racially targeted designation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Task Force on Foreign Affairs and National Security hosted a hearing-style briefing featuring experts and activists from around the country to investigate the FBI’s August 2017 report that asserted “black identity extremists” are an emergent domestic terror threat. Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, participated in the briefing, which included testimony from experts, former FBI agents, and African American organizers.

“Make no mistake, the FBI’s designation of black organizers as extremists is not about ideology, it is about race,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “There is no evidence that black activists leading the march against inequality and police brutality are likely to commit acts of violence. On the other hand, there is a long, well-documented history of racial profiling in our intelligence community, from the investigation of the NAACP to the persecution of Dr. King.”

“I believe we have to take a three part approach to addressing racial profiling in our intelligence community. First, we need to increase the diversity of our intelligence workforce. Second, I believe that it is our responsibility as lawmakers to ensure there is proper oversight of our intelligence community and that checks and balances exist to ensure the FBI’s work is free of racial profiling. Third, I am urging the FBI to denounce its report on ‘black identity extremists’ so that our law enforcement is not encouraged to target African American activists and organizers.”

Rep. Sewell has requested that the FBI brief the full House Intelligence Committee on its August report and the designation of “black identity extremists” as an emerging threat. On the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Sewell has championed legislative measures targeted at increasing workforce diversity in the intelligence community.

In October, Rep. Sewell and Congresswoman Andre Carson (D-IN) sent a letter to the FBI Director expressing serious concerns about the report and urging the FBI to brief the Intelligence Committee on its analysis.


Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition