Conservatives online are fuming in response to an article published in Newsweek yesterday which discusses internal conversations and strategies within the FBI to combat what they consider to be the threat of rising right-wing extremism.
The story details a category of extremism the FBI tracks called “anti-government, anti-authority violent extremism,” or AGAAVE. After the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot, Newsweek reported, the FBI co-authored a report that shifted the definition of AGAAVE from “furtherance of ideological agendas” to “furtherance of political and/or social agendas.”
In October 2022, the FBI created a subcategory called AGAAVE-Other, which included threats not previously tracked in the broader category, including “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.”
According to an FBI officer who talked to Newsweek anonymously, the new category means former President Donald Trump supporters. “[Y]es, in practical terms, it refers to MAGA, though the carefully constructed language is wholly nonpartisan,” they said.
MAGA supporters on X reacted with varying degrees of outrage.
“FBI Targets Trump Supporters Ahead Of 2024 Election,” tweeted @joyreaper. “This is propaganda and FASCISM! THE FBI is created [sic] a perception that Trump supporters are violent and extremists.”
“Politics is driving the federal agencies,” House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan (R-Oh.) said in a hearing in May, playing on a perception among Republicans that the FBI had long been targeting conservatives since Trump took office. Jordan was speaking at a hearing where Republicans portrayed the FBI as persecuting internal whistleblowers who were attempting to investigate the role of federal infiltrators on Jan. 6.
“Newsweek just confirmed: the FBI has officially designated Trump supporters as terrorists to get ready for the 2024 election,” right-wing pundit @EmeraldRobinson reacted on X. “Folks, it’s a communist takeover. The Biden regime is going to plunge America into chaos in the next 13 months.”
In recent months, conservatives have warned about a variety of plots, manufactured disasters, and conspiracies against them and Trump ahead of the 2024 election. Trump himself has called the indictments against him attempts to interfere with the election.
“Time to fire everyone who works there,” @joewallin said about the FBI.
“The FBI has officially designated MAGA as a ‘terrorist’ group,” posted Derrick Evans, a former delegate in the West Virginia House of Delegates who’s running for Congress now. Evans was convicted of felony civil disorder for entering the Capitol on Jan. 6. He was sentenced to 90 days in prison.
“Yesterday it was the J6 prisoners such as my self, today they are going after President Trump, & tomorrow it will be every God-fearing American conservative,” Evans wrote. “This is TYRANNY.”
Some conservatives took exception to the idea that they were violent extremists and reacted by demonstrating just how non-violent they can be.
“Reminder the 2nd Amendment is for tyranny,” @BivonaCarol replied to Evans.