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Tag: domestic terrorism

Retired FBI Agent: There’s Likely to Be An Act of Domestic Terrorism Whether Trump Wins or Loses

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Retired FBI agent Thomas O’Connor, a 23-year veteran of the Washington, D.C., field office, is a specialist in domestic extremist groups who talks on Deadline TV about guns at political rallies, the changing ideology of militia groups and the possible unrest after Nov. 3 voting.

“I think unfortunately no matter who is elected, the opposite side has a strong enough radical base right now that there will be a reaction to the action of a person being elected,” O’Connor says. “One side or the other is likely to have people who are willing to step outside the legal bounds of protest and and do an act which actually fulfills the definition of domestic terrorism. And I hope I’m wrong. … I don’t think I’m going to be proven wrong.”

O’Connor left the bureau last September and now heads FEDSquaredConsulting, which trains people in government and the private sector about counterterrorism and extremist groups.

He talks with ticklethewire.com editor Allan Lengel, who is also editor of Deadline Detroit.

Watch 13-Minute Axios Interview Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf’s interview with Axios.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf discussed Portland protests, systemic racism, domestic terrorism and other issues in this 13-minute interview with Axios.

Wolf pushed back against “this idea that we have systemic racism.”

“That means that we have designed a system that every law enforcement officer that goes through a law enforcement academy, a training facility, is somehow installed with racist views,” Wolf says.

He adds, “Again, I’m not saying that there’s not racist tendencies in some law enforcement officers. I think I wanna be clear about that. But again, what people mean by systemic racism is that we have designed an institution, a law enforcement institution, to be racist from the get-go. And I just — I don’t subscribe to that. I don’t believe in that.”

Other members of Trump’s administration who have denied systemic racism are White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, and Attorney General Bill Barr.

The Government Accountability Office said last week that Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, were not appointed through a valid process and therefore aren’t legally qualified to hold their positions. The Trump administration rejected the findings, saying the were “erroneous.”

Watch the full interview here:

Homeland Security Warns of Violent Extremists Using Coronavirus to Incite Violence

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The coronavirus outbreak has fueled threats from domestic terrorists and violent extremists who are angry about social-distancing measures.

In an intelligence note to law enforcement officials across the country, the Department of Homeland Security said the threat will persist “until the virus is contained and the normal routine of U.S. societal life resumes.”

The April 23 memo, obtained by POLITICO, references recent arrests involving people who are angry about the restrictions and exploiting the pandemic to incite violence. Some have threatened elected officials and government facilities.

“Recent incidents and arrests nationwide illustrate how the COVID-19 pandemic is driving violent actors—both non-ideologically and ideologically motivated—to threaten violence,” the memo reads. “These incidents indicate that COVID-19 is serving as the impetus for some domestic terrorist plots.”

The memo continues, “As the COVID-19 threat expands throughout the United States, the violent extremist threat will also continue to evolve, potentially increasing in frequency and severity.”

The FBI has warned law enforcement officials of similar threats.

Hate Groups, Fueled by Conspiracy Theories May Exploit Coronavirus to Target Attacks, Feds Warn

Timothy Wilson is accused of plotting to detonate a bomb near a hospital, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Hate groups, fueled by conspiracy theories about the coronavirus, may incite violence in the midst of the outbreak, national security officials warn in an intelligence bulletin fringe the FBI, Homeland Security, and National Counterterrorism Center.

The report, first obtained by CNN, also warns that extremists may target hospitals, grocery stores, and even police officers enforcing social-distancing measures.

Recent plots were uncovered in the past two weeks, including a Missouri man accused of plotting to detonate a car bomb at a hospital and a train engineer who said he intentionally crashed his train near a naval hospital ship that he believed was preparing for a government takeover.

Asian-Americans and Jewish people also have been targeted with threats because of conspiracy theories blaming them for the spread of the virus.

CNN wrote:

While the FBI has become increasingly focused on combating domestic terrorism in recent years as the number of reported hate crimes has increased, the recent warnings have reflected an elevated concern that the pandemic and the changes to American society that it has caused were creating more perceived reasons and opportunities for extremists to act.

While the FBI has become increasingly focused on combating domestic terrorism in recent years as the number of reported hate crimes has increased, the recent warnings have reflected an elevated concern that the pandemic and the changes to American society that it has caused were creating more perceived reasons and opportunities for extremists to act.

Some hate groups are claiming that government responses to the outbreak could crash the global economy and lead to a race war, the bulletin states, potentially working to incite people who are facing economic hardship and social isolation in the meantime to commit acts of violence.
Others have commented that they should exploit holes in policing left by law enforcement who’ve contracted the virus themselves or are diverted to enforcing stay-at-home orders.

FBI Says Man Killed in Shootout Planned to Blow Up Hospital During Coronavirus Pandemic

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Missouri man was killed during a shootout with the FBI on Tuesday after authorities say he planned blow up a hospital during the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of an FBI joint terrorism task force attempted to arrest Timothy Wilson, 36, when the shootout occurred.

“Wilson was the subject of a months-long domestic terrorism investigation, which revealed him to be a potentially violent extremist, motivated by racial, religious, and anti-government animus,” the FBI said in statement.

The bureau said Wilson was considering a variety of targets before he “settled on an area hospital … that is providing critical medical care in today’s environment.”

“With the current health crisis, Wilson decided to accelerate his plan to use a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in an attempt to cause severe harm and mass casualties,” the FBI said.

The bureau added that Wilson had taken “the necessary steps to acquire materials needed to build an explosive device.”

Wilson was trying to pick up what he believed was an explosive device when agents attempted to arrest him.

FBI: Army Soldier Strategized Attacking Major News Network, Beto O’Rourke

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Army soldier was arrested on allegations of planning to attack a major American news network, providing online instructions on building a bomb and strategizing an attack on Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.

The 24-year-old soldier, Jarret William Smith, also expressed interest in joining a violent far-right paramilitary group in Ukraine and killing members of Antifa, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Smith, who was assigned to the First Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kan., has been charged with distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction.

Smith faces up to 24 years in prison.

Before joining the Army, Smith expressed interest in fighting in the Ukraine with a far-right group, according charging documents.

“No former military experience, but if I cannot find a slot in Ulaaine [SIC] by October I’ll be going into the Akmy [SIC],” Smith is accused of writing on Facebook chat. “To fight is what I want to do. I’m willing to listen, learn, and train. But to work on Firerums [SIC] is fine by me too.”

After joining the Army, Smith returned to Facebook chat to say he “got knowledge of IEDs for days.”

“We can make cell phone IEDs in the style of the Afghans. I can teach you that.”

House Democrats: Trump’s Administration Turns Blind Eye to White Nationalism

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Democrats are questioning why Trump’s administration “is failing to address white supremacist, extremist violence” as domestic terrorism is on the rise.

Consider this: All race-based domestic terrorism in 2018 was committed by alleged white supremacists. When the Department of Homeland Security wanted to increase its focus on domestic terrorism, the White House intervened and rejected the idea.

So alarmed by the surge in white supremacist violence, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Congress in July that “a majority of domestic terrorism cases are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.”

So why does it appear Trump’s administration is not taking the threat seriously?

In a letter to the leadership of the FBI and Homeland Security, 65 House Democrats said white supremacy must be met with a “vigorous, systemic and coordinated response.”

“We are concerned that the Trump administration is jeopardizing our national security by failing to take domestic terrorism seriously,” the letter reads. “In particular, this administration is failing to address white supremacist extremist violence, the leading cause of domestic terrorism.”

The letter adds, “It is unacceptable that political interference from the White House should prevent domestic terrorism from receiving the elevated level of focus it deserves, especially following recent, high profile terrorist attacks.”

28 People Accused of Threatening Mass Shootings Since El Paso, Dayton Massacres

Photo via ATF.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

At least 28 people have been arrested on allegations of threatening to commit mass shootings since 31 people were killed in massacres in Texas and Ohio about a month ago.

In the wake of the attacks, FBI Director Christopher Wray urged law enforcement agencies across the country to become more vigilant in their search for potential mass shooters.

The targets of the threats ranged from schools and Walmart to a health clinic and Army recruitment center, according to CNN.

Some of the suspects were white nationalists, including an 18-year-old man accused of threatening a mass shooting at a Jewish community center in Youngstown, Oh. A 35-year-old Maryland man was charged after calling for the “extermination” of Hispanics.

In July, the FBI director said that white supremacy is behind an increase in domestic terrorism cases. In the past nine months, the FBI has recorded about 100 domestic terrorism arrests, which is an increase over previous years.

“A majority of the domestic terrorism cases we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence,” Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

President Trump initially said he was exploring gun control measures, such as more background checks, but it appears he has distanced himself from taking any action.