U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
A FBI Press Release
For Immediate Release
October 20, 1999
The FBI today issued the following statement to clarify the "USA Today" story titled "FBI: Militias a threat at millennium"
For several years, the FBI has had a program of reaching out to militias and their members to explain the FBI's role in investigating violations of law and to stress open lines of communication with militia groups. This was done also to ensure the militias that there was no intent to deny anyone their constitutional rights nor was there a targeting of any militia groups who were otherwise engaged in legitimate, protected activity. The FBI realizes that the majority of militia members engage in and support law abiding activities. However, the FBI will investigate illegal activities coming within the purview of its investigative responsibilities. In fact, the FBI is fully cognizant of the fact that some militias have taken positive steps towards ridding themselves of violent extremist elements. It is these violent extremist elements that could be violating laws which could subject them to investigations by the FBI. Often, these extreme members will splinter from more established groups and engage in violence autonomously. These elements are often very small cells or lone actors. The contact with militia members has proven effective, in that the more mainstream militia groups have been helpful in identifying the more extremist elements of the militia who may resort to acts of violence.
"Project Megiddo" is the culmination of an FBI research initiative which analyzed the potential for extremist criminal activity in the U.S. by individuals or domestic groups who attach special significance to the year 2000. In an effort to educate investigators and officials in the law enforcement community about potential violence associated with or motivated by the arrival of the year 2000, the FBI conducted extensive research into the various ideologies and concepts which serve to motivate groups or individuals with violent agendas. Many extremists place significance on the next millennium, and may present challenges to law enforcement authorities. The significance is based primarily upon apocalyptic religious beliefs or political beliefs concerning the New World Order conspiracy theory. The report is intended to provide a clear, measured, and responsible picture of potential extremism motivated by the next millennium, and to increase awareness among law enforcement officials of the unique challenges that may be presented by extremists motivated by millennial agendas.
The study is being distributed to appropriate law enforcement personnel from around the country and provides an overview of various extremist ideologies, specifically those which advocate or call for violent action beginning in the year 2000. Such ideologies motivate violent white supremacists who seek to initiate a race war; apocalyptic cults which anticipate a violent Armageddon; radical elements of private citizen militias who fear that the United Nations will initiate an armed takeover of the United States and subsequently establish a One World Government; and other groups or individuals which promote violent millennial agendas. The report also discusses how extremists interpret biblical and/or other religious scriptures to justify their agendas, and how certain extremist elements point to the so-called Y2K computer crisis as an indicator of imminent social chaos and unrest.
In addition to addressing key millennial concepts and the ideological or religious motivations behind millennial extremism, Project Megiddo outlines a number of issues of which law enforcement officers should be cognizant, including indicators of potential violence, possible preparations for violence, and a general discussion of possible targets of millennial extremists. Law enforcement officials are encouraged to further educate themselves on the various issues discussed in the project.
FBI and Project Megiddo: Updates
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