Law Enforcement Agent Condemns SPLC

By Social Contract Editors
Volume 28, Number 3 (Spring 2018)
Issue theme: "The SPLC File - An Exclusive Report on the Southern Poverty Law Center"

“The SPLC has managed to engage police and government agencies to assist them, interfacing informational resources about personal circumstances, vulnerability, and any opportunities for prosecution. They have even counseled the military in stigmatization and defamation procedures.” “The rules and procedures that still pertain to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies don’t apply to the SPLC because they’re private, unsupervised, and unaccountable to anyone.”

—Laird Wilcox, founder of the Wilcox Collection on Contemporary Political Movements at the University of Kansas’s Kenneth Spencer Research Library

Jim Fisher is the pseudonym of a retired federal law enforcement officer. He agreed to do an interview with The Social Contract on his thoughts about the influence of the Southern Poverty Law Center on federal law enforcement.

The Social Contract: During your career, did you see that the Southern Poverty Law Center had an agenda with federal law enforcement?

Jim Fisher: For most of my career I did not, but from around 2000 to until my retirement a few years later, I saw that the SPLC was definitely trying to influence enforcement agencies. They sent them their so-called Intelligence Report , a glossy multi-page magazine listing supposed bigots, haters, racists, and so forth. It struck me as being patently false because I was familiar with some of the people and groups being profiled. It seemed to me that the SPLC commonly attacked people simply because they disagreed with the SPLC.

Q: Did they send it to your agency?

A: We weren’t on their list, probably because we didn’t deal with anything connected to their agenda. One day, though, a copy of Intelligence Report
showed up in our work place, and my co-workers passed it around. I was bothered when one of them said it was “a good source of information.” I asked him if he knew anything about Morris Dees and his questionable character. Members of my profession are supposed to be skeptical of claims made by people, especially when it appears that self-interest is involved. It’s sad when some can be taken in so easily by something like this just because it’s glossy and eye-appealing.

Q: Do you think they send their material to police agencies to make them regard alleged “hate groups” and “extremists” as potential criminals—even when the great majority of them are completely law-abiding?

A : That’s precisely why they do it. They’re not sending their stuff to doctors’ offices or to truck drivers’ clubs. They’re sending it because they want to have an impact, and it’s not hard to figure what the intended impact is. They want to tarnish law enforcement, to have it act on their prejudices.

Q: How successful do you think they might be?

A : Unfortunately, as I’ve said there are people in enforcement who will take things at face value. Also, there are some who may want to go after “hate” as a way to advance their personal ambitions.

Q: Do you think average citizens do something about the SPLC’s effort to manipulate law enforcement, such as writing their Congressmen, or providing factual information about the SPLC to their police chiefs and sheriffs?

A: Absolutely. This organization is effective to the extent that it can project its false image as a defender of civil rights and tolerance. It’s nothing of the kind, and that message needs to get out.