A 50-year-old Army veteran spent nearly a decade risking his life in the fight against hatred.
In a recent sit-down interview with the Associated Press, Florida resident Joseph Moore opened up about his undercover years within the Ku Klux Klan. Moore said he became an FBI informant back in 2007, when he was asked to infiltrate a north Florida organization called the United Northern and Southern Knights of the KKK. Over the next 10 years, he would help foil at least two murder plots as well as expose law enforcement officers who had ties to white supremacy organizations.
“If the KKK had a target, it would be me,” said Moore, who changed his legal name to ensure his family’s safety. “The FBI wanted me to gather as much information about these individuals and confirm their identities. From where I sat, with the intelligence laid out, I can tell you that none of these agencies have any control over any of it. It is more prevalent and consequential than any of them are willing to admit.”
During his first stint with the FBI, Moore would attend KKK meetings and collect identifying information of members whom he suspected of being law enforcement officers. He also wore a wire to record his conversations with some of the klansmen and even managed to capture video during interactions.
“The members of the KKK, in public, they state that they’re a peaceful, law-abiding organization protected by the First Amendment,” he explained. “However, in secret, they constantly discuss violent acts in support of their ideology. They used terms that I wouldn’t use. They used terms that began with the letter N. And from Day 1, I decided that I would never use that word, even if it created an even more dangerous situation for myself. So, when I’m with these guys, I’m in that character. I realize that at any moment, I can hear a bang.”
When asked what would happen if his cover was ever blown, Moore told the AP: “I’d be murdered. Without a doubt.”
Despite the dangers, he continued to work with the FBI to crack down on white supremacy within Florida’s law enforcement agencies. Just a year after infiltrating the Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK in 2013, Moore was named a Grand Knight Hawk of the “klavern.” During his time with the chapter, Moore was pulled aside to discuss plans to murder Warren Williams, a Black former inmate who had gotten into a fight with a prison correctional officer Thomas Driver, who was an alleged klan member.
Moore recorded conversations regarding the murder plot, and ultimately helped convict three klansmen.
“I was asked by the FBI to begin moving towards uncovering more specific law enforcement agencies; however, the public interest and the public safety issue came up with the murder plot, and that took a priority. So I know that I was on track to uncover more activity in law enforcement, but the immediate threat to the public—with the murder plot—was a priority.”
Moore, who also exposed the KKK’s plan to kill a Hispanic truck driver, said he had come across multiple klansmen who were current or former members of law enforcement as well as military veterans and active service members. He told the AP there were several current prison guards who were implicated in the Williams’ murder plot; however, Florida’s Department of Corrections has denied those claims.
“Every day more than 18,000 correctional officers throughout the state work as public servants, committed to the safety of Florida’s communities,” the DOC said in a statement. “They should not be defamed by the isolated actions of three individuals who committed abhorrent and illegal acts several years prior.”
In 2018, after testifying in the aforementioned murder case, Moore stopped working as an FBI informant and relocated his family under different names. But the Army vet says he and his family are still at risk, as a number of klan-affiliated people have shown up at his home.
“We have tried to move, we have had our address placed in confidentiality. However, there are people that have investigative capacities that have tracked us, they’ve uncovered our names,” he said. “… If you want to know why people don’t trust the police, it’s because they have a relative or friend that they witness being targeted by an extremist who happens to have a badge and a gun. And I know as a fact that this has occurred. I stopped a murder plot of law enforcement officers.”