Editor’s Note: This Federal Bureau of Investigation Field Report was produced in 2017 and originally appeared in the appendices of Edward Klein’s All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump (Regnery Publishing, 2017). It is accompanied by a second document, FBI Report on the Radical “Resistance,” to be posted here shortly.
Report to the Office of the FBI Director from field offices Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit and New York
Limited Distribution [only director’s office and field office heads] Delivered May 29, 2017
Following over 2000 interviews in the field the consensus opinion is that the opposition is largely in California, and to a lesser degree in New York and Washington, D.C., but there are millions across the country who are willing to engage in activity publicly demonstrating their opposition to the Trump Administration.
The largest organization are the Courage Campaign, who at one point claimed membership of slightly over one million. Most of these “members” actually only signed on for on-line membership, many have made small contributions. The group is scattered and consists mostly of small cell groups. There is no evidence this organization advocates violence, instead encouraging signing petitions and lobbying politicians.
Some can be described as militant but there was no open inclination to violence.
It’s Going Down
In the present political climate, the rhetoric is extremely overheated. Even the Sierra Club’s leader Michael Brune has said, “We will fight like dogs in the street.” The opinion of the agents is that the mainstream organizations pose no threat and should be allowed to carry out their constitutional rights to protest.
Of greatest concern is the Berkeley based militant group It’s Going Down, which has cells that communicate through the internet from colleges in all 50 states, as well as Canada and Mexico. this organization has accepted responsibility for the violence and destruction in Berkeley despite comments by Professor Robert Reich and UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennett that the incidents were performed by “outside agitators.” One of the arrestees in the incidents was identified as a student of Professor Reich.
This organization is under active investigation by the Bureau owing to their interstate funding nature and their inclination to physically attack banks and savings and loans with fire bombs, rocks and iron rods.
They raise funds through PayPal and Bitcoin.
It’s Going Down has been active since late 2015, publishes magazines and videos encouraging violent demonstrations against banks and other institutions. They refer to their organization as anarchist and say they collect funds to finance “uprisings and rebellions.” It bills itself as an “anarchist” group and claims ties to other violent anarchist groups abroad, including Peru.
It is recommending that all intelligence and bureau gathers on this organization be shared with the Secret Service.
There are numerous off-shoot organizations of It’s Going Down, including Final Straw, which advocates for the release of federal prisoners who have been convicted of sabotage, arson, bank robbery, and bombing. At the top of the list, which has been widely disseminated on various web sites, are Joan Laman who was convicted of armed robbery and bank robbery in the 1980s and is serving a fifty-year term in federal prison. Another on recent posts is Marius Mason who is serving time for sabotage and arson.
There is no evidence that this group has done more than petition for the release of federal prisoners. There is no evidence they have tried to organize a prison escape. But they are obviously encouraging violent activism by heralding their crimes.
Funding for this group includes small donations sent through bitcoin and PayPal. They use their funding to record podcasts and regular hour long radio broadcasts on community radio stations ranging from Asheville, NC to Fairbanks, AK.
Some funding also comes from George Soros, who they refer to as their fund raising broadcasts and literature as “Daddy Warbucks.”
The organization and its subgroups advocate work outs for its members and training to engage in “street fighting.” It is clear that their motives include preparing members, both male and female to engage in hand-to-hand combat with police and guards of banks and other financial institutions.
Several members of the group, arrested in the fire-bombing and sabotage in Berkeley described to local police and later FBI agents the nature of the training they received which included the making of Molotov cocktails and the use of tire irons, among other weaponized tools to do the most destruction possible and to use as weapons against the law enforcement personnel who get in their way.
The training, which takes place often in public gyms that are sympathetic to the cause, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, is unprecedented in recent years. It is nearly on a par with ISIS training minus the suicide bombs.
The organization complains about the “liberal fetishization of non-violence,” in its writing online, and claims “they are more interested in doing what is right, not what is legal.”
Veteran agents compare the level of training in preparations for violent confrontation with law enforcement to the Black Panther training in the 1970’s.
There is intelligence the group and/or off-shoots are planning a training camp in rural Massachusetts over the summer.
There have always been militant groups, particularly associated with UC Berkeley, but the agitprop against the current administration is unusually virulent, and potentially dangerous.
There have been intercepts recently that the organization is in contact with Muslim militants both in Detroit and overseas. There was a suggestion that they wish to liaise with some radical elements with the hope of learning more aggressive and violent tactics. This group has made common cause against Islamic Americans who have come out against any imposition of Sharia Law in the U.S., which intel suggests is a condition to get cooperation from extremists.
This is a concern that is actionable and must be closely monitored.
The Bureau has gotten actionable intelligence that there is, within the federal government, a growing and organized movement to block or interfere with administration policy decisions.
There have been regular organized meetings of large numbers of government workers at a church in the Columbia Heights area of the District where plans have been discussed to actively sabotage government programs they disagree with. These would include immigration enforcement, crackdowns on welfare fraud and any weakening of environmental rules. Plus there is concern that some dissenting government workers might be dislodged from their positions by the Trump administration.
There is evidence that, while there is a great deal of agitation within the government there are non-government individuals associated with unions and immigration and environmental groups who are behind these meetings.
Legal groups have been teaching some of these government employees what they can get away with doing in terms of delaying enforcement and what they cannot in terms of refusing to obey orders, which would constitute going on strike and get them dismissed under civil service rules.
One management level government employee said, “Bureaucrats are going to delay, drag their feet and throw roadblocks in the way of unconscionable actions by the Trump White House. It is going to become impossible to get things done.”
There is a legal gray area here that the bureau has been very careful to avoid in terms of free speech and rights to assemble. Legally government employees have the same rights as any other Americans to protest what the government is doing provided their do it on their own time.
Presently there is no sign of revolt within the federal government.
But the situation is being monitored with a concern that this movement could lead to outright sabotage and interfere with the day-to-day functioning of the U.S. Government.
A combination of intercepts and information indicate that another way the movement people are planning to block the administration is through hacking of cyber-attacks on government data systems.
A San Francisco based group called The Sum of Us says “Donald Trump’s agenda is an existential threat to our communities and democracy,” and suggests that the administration is going to use Silicon Valley to create a registry for Muslims to deport.
Intelligence from informants and intercepts suggest that there are numerous individuals who may be creating plans to hack into and destroy any such registry.
This threat has been referred to the National Cyber Investigation Joint Task Force, which works with the entire Intelligence Community, and all 56 FBI field offices.
While there is currently no evidence that such a registry is planned or being created it is a concern for the Cyber Security division of the bureau and the possibility that such a plan to alter or destroy U.S. Government files is being investigated actively.