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My FBI Records from Charlottesville and Beyond

I was the victim of multiple violent neo-Nazi crimes. Here's what I learned from requesting my FBI records about the incidents.

In 2019, I submitted a Freedom of Information & Privacy Act request to obtain what FBI files might exist for me. I knew such files existed; in 2017, the Virtual Operational Support Team (VOST) was monitoring local social media pertaining to the protests in Charlottesville, and FOIA requests with local authorities showed that VOST had been monitoring my tweets among them. Since VOST was reporting information to the Virginia Fusion Center, it stands to reason that the FBI had aggregated such data.

My initial FOIPA request came back with an estimated 12,051 pages. It was expected to take many years. I was quite specific in the boundaries of my request, and I was shocked to see it be that large. About 18 months later, my response came back with just a handful of pages. These pages pertain to some known incidents—the attack on me by Chris Cantwell, the false tip called against me before Unite the Right, the threats from Atomwaffen Division made against me. This is not an exhaustive retelling of the interactions I've had with law enforcement. I've pressed charges on Nazis before, and those interactions are not captured here.

These files reveal insights about how the FBI has treated the investigations around Charlottesville, Unite the Right, and neo-Nazi terror. The files contain mistakes on the part of the FBI. They reveal how the FBI can look up driving, criminal, and financial histories. And they reveal that investigations are likely not complete; the redactions of several documents suggest that investigations are still ongoing.

I'm publishing this for two reasons: first, so that you can educate yourself about how the FBI investigates and interacts with left-wing activists; second, in the spirit of radical transparency, so people who work with me are aware of how my past work intersects with the Feds. Where there are white redaction boxes, the FBI has removed information for public release. Where there are pink boxes, I have removed personal identifiers, such as my Social Security Number, my license number, and my address.

  • Section 1 — FBI 302 from Chris Cantwell's pepper spray attack
  • Section 2 — Fully redacted file
  • Section 3 — Fully redacted file
  • Section 4 — FBI 302 pertaining to a false anonymous tip
  • Section 5 — FBI brief pertaining to the false anonymous tip
  • Section 6 — FBI FD-71A complaint for for the investigation regarding the tip
  • Section 7 — FBI brief pertaining to Atomwaffen's threat against me in Germany
  • Section 8 — FBI brief regarding a threatening letter sent to me

Further Resources

Author

EG

Emily is a data scientist and activist. The opinions shared herein are her own.