Project Megiddo was a report researched and written by the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation under Director Louis Freeh. Released on October 20, 1999, the report named followers of white supremacy, Christian Identity, the militia movement, Black Hebrew Israelites, and apocalyptic cults as potential terrorists who might become violent in reaction to the new millennium. It was created for the purpose of monitoring groups on the right, such as constitutionalists, devout Christians, anti-tax activists, anti-UN and pro-gun groups and individuals, all considered by the FBI to be budding terrorists.
Such descriptions cover just about everyone on the right. It is not known if Project Megiddo violated the rights of individuals as the FBI did with previous similar programs, such as COINTELPRO, but it’s likely. Not surprisingly, much of the info used by Project Megiddo was fed to them by hysterical leftist groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), as even the FBI has publicly acknowledged. Shameful.
This report was sent to 20,000 police chiefs in early November 1999. It was a strategic assessment of the potential for domestic terrorism in the United States undertaken in anticipation of or response to the arrival of the new millennium.
The report began:
“For over four thousand years, MEGIDDO, a hill in northern Israel, has been the site of many battles. Ancient cities were established there to serve as a fortress on the plain of Jezreel to guard a mountain pass. As Megiddo was built and rebuilt, one city upon the other, a mound or hill was formed. The Hebrew word “Armageddon” means “hill of Megiddo.” In English, the word has come to represent battle itself. The last book in the New Testament of the Bible designates Armageddon as the assembly point in the apocalyptic setting of God’s final and conclusive battle against evil. The name “Megiddo” is an apt title for a project that analyzes those who believe the year 2000 will usher in the end of the world and who are willing to perpetrate acts of violence to bring that end about.”
Home School Legal Defense Association has prepared an analysis of the report for any impact on home school families.
Focus of the Report
The Project Megiddo report focuses on extremist groups far from the mainstream home school movement. These are groups that home schoolers would typically distance themselves from, such as violent militias, apocalyptic cults, and radical white supremacists.
The single reference to home schooling in this report is an allusion to a fear that some groups have that “home schooling will be outlawed and all school curriculum will need to be approved by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).”2 There is no mention of home schooling in a negative way in this report.
What groups does the FBI think have this fear? Does the FBI include state home school associations or HSLDA? It is hard to know for sure. Thirty-two groups, including HSLDA, have submitted a letter to key congressional leaders requesting a congressional inquiry into Project Megiddo. Among other groups in this coalition are Eagle Forum, Paul Weyrich’s Coalitions for America, and Concerned Women of America.
At this point the Megiddo report is not a cause for alarm. The FBI says it is specifically looking at terrorists. However HSLDA believes it is important to clarify the definitions, purpose and goals of this report.
The name “Megiddo” refers to a hill in northern Israel that has been the site of many battles. The Hebrew word “Armageddon” means, “hill of Megiddo.” In English, the word has come to represent battle itself. The last book of the New Testament of the Bible designates Armageddon as the assembly point in the apocalyptic setting of God’s final and conclusive battle against evil. It is an appropriate title for a project that analyzes those who believe the year 2000 will usher in the end of the world and who are willing to perpetrate acts of violence to bring that end about. Home schoolers typically do not fit in this category, and should not worry about being a specific target as a group.
FBI Concerned About Religious Motivation
The Megiddo report states, Religious motivation and NWO (New World Order) conspiracy theory are the two driving forces behind the potential for millennial violence. As the end of the millennium draws near, biblical prophecy and political philosophy may merge into acts of violence by the more extreme members of domestic terrorist groups that are motivated, in part, by religion. The volatile mix of apocalyptic religions and NWO conspiracy theories may produce violent acts aimed at precipitating the end of the world as prophesied in the Bible.3
When and how Christ’s coming will occur is a critical point in the ideology of those motivated by extremist religious beliefs about the millennium. There is no consensus within Christianity regarding the specific date that the Apocalypse will occur. However, within many right-wing religious groups there is a uniform belief that the Apocalypse is approaching.4
The FBI also consulted a Catholic scholar for research on millennial views within Christianity and key dates and numbers. The FBI believes that “religious extremists interpret the symbolism portrayed in the Book of Revelation and mold it to predict that the endtime is now and that the Apocalypse is near. To understand many religious extremists, it is crucial to know the origin of the Book of Revelation and meanings of its words, numbers and characters.”5
Project Megiddo has been listed publicly on the Internet. An internal classified version has been given to agents and local officials, discussing the need for local law enforcement to be prepared in the event of an emergency such as Y2K computer failures and further explains the groups that the FBI thinks may pose a threat to domestic security.
Many of the groups who signed the coalition letter believe that the classified version may contain additional home school information. The coalition’s letter stated:
“We understand that the classified version of the same report given to state and local law enforcement officials contains more specific targets on the Right, such as homeschoolers. It would behoove the Leadership of Congress to immediately obtain a copy of the classified version of this report in order to more properly pursue the hearings we suggest you hold.”6
At the time this analysis was being written, HSLDA had not been able to obtain a copy of the classified Megiddo report in order to verify or disprove these concerns. A definite answer may not be possible until a congressional inquiry occurs.
Meanwhile, home schoolers should take the public Megiddo report at face value. Most groups mentioned in this report are considered minimal security threats. The FBI says it is most concerned about proactive, not reactive groups. The security threat of most of these groups is considered minimal. The FBI says it is most concerned about proactive groups, not reactive. Most of the following groups listed below fit in the latter category. The FBI believes the problem is the combination of apocalyptic beliefs about the millennium, increased domestic tension, and the year 2000 computer bug that might set off problems in the United States.
The report lists some of the following groups as potentially dangerous:
- Black Hebrew Israelites
- Odinism Groups
- Christian Identity churches
- Apocolyptic Cults
- Aryan Nation
- Ku Klux Klan
- Church of the Creator
- Nation of Yahweh
- Islamic, Jewish, and Christian militant fundamentalists who believe in violence to accomplish theological goals and objectives.