DOJ Arrests Alleged White Supremacists for Intimidating Activists and Journalists: 'This Is Not How America Works'

Four alleged white supremacists were arrested Wednesday for threatening and harassing journalists and activists in four different states, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Focusing on individuals who are Jewish or non-Caucasian, the four allegedly shared documents which included anti-Semitic symbolism and threats online through the recognized hate group, Atomwaffen Division. The literature was then printed and delivered to its recipients.

"These defendants from across the country allegedly conspired on the internet to intimidate journalists and activists with whom they disagreed," said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers in a statement Wednesday. "This is not how America works. The Department of Justice will not tolerate this type of behavior."

Four alleged white supremacists were arrested Wednesday for sending hate propaganda to journalists and activists, according to the Department of Justice. Getty

Posters were mailed to three individuals in the Seattle, Washington area including a television journalist who had reported on the activities of the Atomwaffen Division. In Phoenix, the propaganda was mailed to a magazine journalist. While the four had intended to mail hate posters to a recipient in Tampa, Florida, the mail went to the incorrect address.

"The FBI recognizes all citizens' First Amendment-protected rights. However the subjects arrested today crossed the line from protected ideas and speech to action in order to intimidate and coerce individuals who they perceived as a threat to their ideology of hate," said Special Agent in Charge Raymond Duda of the Seattle FBI in Wednesday's statement.

Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Jill Sanborn called today's arrests "a warning to anyone who intends to use violence as intimidation or coercion to further their ideology that the FBI remains steadfast in our commitment to protect Americans from domestic terrorism."

Newsweek reached out to the Seattle Police Department for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Atomwaffen Division describes itself as "[a] very fanatical, ideological band of comrades who do both activism and militant training. Hand to hand, arms training, and various other forms of training. As for activism, we spread awareness in the real world through unconventional means."

Attorney General William Barr said in January that the Department of Justice would make anti-Semitic hate crimes a priority.

"I'm extremely distressed by the upsurge in violence, hate crimes committed against the Jewish community," Barr said. "This administration is going to have zero tolerance for this kind of violence."

"It strikes at the very core of what this country is about," Barr continued. "I've always felt it is particularly pernicious because it does target people based not only [on] their ethnicity but also on their religious practice."