Blackburn calls latest FBI plan for stopping extremist violence 'over the top'

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Sen. Marsha Blackburn criticized the FBI after it called for the public's help.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Monday criticized the FBI for requesting the public's help in combating violent extremism.

Blackburn appeared on the conservative Newsmax TV network's "National Report" program and was asked by host Emma Rechenberg for her reaction to what she called "a quite controversial tweet" posted on the official FBI Twitter account that read, "Family members and peers are often best positioned to witness signs of mobilization to violence. Help prevent homegrown violent extremism."

The agency is currently in the middle of a massive investigation of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump. Over 500 people have been arrested so far.

Rechenberg said people fear the tweet is calling for "reporting people who might have different views from your own, not necessarily extremist one[s]."

After accusing the FBI without evidence of spying on Donald Trump's presidential campaign, Blackburn told Rechenberg:

Tennesseans are very upset with what they see as a double standard with how the FBI and other federal agencies move forward. But bear in mind, they were there collecting information or surveilling the Trump campaign. And for them to put this out, encourage people to do this — I have some questions about it and many others have questions about it. Of course, everyone wants to do their part to keep out nation safe and to keep our communities safe. But to put this out and to encourage people to begin to snitch on their family members if they have a difference of opinion is something that is a little bit over the top.

Despite what Rechenberg and Blackburn say, the FBI's tweet did not call opinions or political disagreements criteria for reporting concerns about violent extremism. The document linked in the tweet never mentions the word "opinion."

Republicans in Congress have attacked efforts to combat violent extremism, voting in both the House and the Senate against authorizing congressional investigations of the riot at the Capitol.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.