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Tag: white supremacy

White Supremacy Is Greatest Threat to U.S., Garland, Mayorkas Testify

Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

By Steve Neavling

The heads of the Justice Department and Homeland Security warned senators Wednesday that white supremacy is the most serious threat facing the U.S. 

In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the departments are cracking down on violent extremism.

“The department is taking a new approach to addressing domestic violent extremism, both internally and externally,” Mayorkas said. 

Garland said the Jan. 6 insurrection was “an attempt to interfere with the fundamental element of our democracy, a peaceful transfer of power.”

“I have not seen a more dangerous threat to democracy than the invasion of the Capitol,” Garland said. 

He added, “We will use every appropriate tool at our disposal to deter and disrupt such criminal acts and to bring their perpetrators to justice.”

The Justice Department has charged more than 430 people in connection to the deadly riot. 

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy called the threat “uniquely dangerous” in his opening remarks. 

“Attacks and plots by domestic extremists are at historic highs, with the majority of them being planned by those on the far right espousing white supremacist and related ideologies,” Leahy said. “In 2020 alone, white nationalists and like-minded extremists conducted 67% of terrorist plots and attacks in the United States. We cannot deny we are facing a class of criminals who feel more emboldened than ever.”

Read Garland’s full comments here.

Homeland Security to Review Threat of White Supremacy, Extremism within Its Ranks

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

By Steve Neavling

The Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced it’s launching an internal review to asses the risks of white supremacy and extremism within the federal agency.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayoraks said the review is intended to prevent, detect and respond to domestic threats within its ranks, The New York Times reports.

“We recognize that domestic violent extremism and the ideology, the extremist ideologies that spew it, are prevalent,” Mayorkas said. “We have a responsibility, given what we do, to ensure that that pernicious influence does not exist in our department.”

The announcement is part of the Biden administration’s broader effort to weed out extremist ideology in the federal government. 

As part of the review, senior officials will explore the prevalence of extremism in its agencies, which include Border Patrol, ICE and the Secret Service. 

Mayorkas described domestic extremists as “the most lethal and persistent terrorism-relate threat to our country today” in a memo to all department employees on Monday. 

Merrick Garland Remembers Oklahoma City Bombing on 26th Anniversary

Attorney General Merrick Garland. (Photo: DOJ)

Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged to crack down on domestic violent extremists in a speech commemorating the 26th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people. 

Garland, who led the prosecution of bomber Timothy McVeigh and his accomplice Terry Nichols, said the same brand of domestic extremism still exists. 

“Although many years have passed, the terror perpetrated by people like Timothy McVeigh is still with us,” Garland said at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. “The Department of Justice is pouring its resources into stopping domestic violent extremists before they can attack, prosecuting those who do, and battling the spread of the kind of hate that leads to tragedies like the one we mark here today.”

Garland spoke about white supremacy during his confirmation hearing earlier this year, citing the Oklahoma City bombing. 

“I supervised the prosecution of the perpetrators of the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building, who sought to spark a revolution that would topple the Federal Government,” Garland told lawmakers in February. “If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.”

Read Garland’s full speech here.

Biden Wants Funding Increase to Investigate White Supremacy within CBP, ICE

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

President Biden’s budget proposal seeks to increase oversight of Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to investigate complaints of white supremacy. 

Under the proposal, workforce oversight offices within CBP and ICE would receive $470 million, a 22% increase in funding, Reuters reports.

The idea is to ensure timely investigations of workforce complaints, including “those related to white supremacy or ideological and non-ideological beliefs.”

The impetus for the increased oversight wasn’t immediately clear, but the Biden administration has prioritized combating domestic extremism, which a Homeland Security report in 2020 described as “the most persistent and lethal threat” to the U.S. 

GOP Senator Drafts Bill to Make Domestic Terrorism a Federal Crime

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., has drafted a bill to make domestic terrorism a federal crime as experts continue to warn about a rise in white supremacy-fueled violence.

The Air Force veteran said her legislation would close a loophole that bars federal authorities from charging suspects with domestic terrorism.

“For too long we have allowed those who commit heinous acts of domestic terrorism to be charged with related crimes that don’t portray the full scope of their hateful actions,” McSally told Politico.

“That stops with my bill,” she added. “The bill I am introducing will give federal law enforcement the tools they have asked for so that they can punish criminals to the fullest extent of the law.”

McSally’s actions follow the FBI’s new warning about domestic terrorism threats after the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

According to the bill, “violent extremists could become inspired by these and previous high-profile attacks to engage in similar acts of violence.”

The FBI defines domestic terror as acts of violence “perpetrated by individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with primarily U.S.-based movements that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.”

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Contradicts Tucker Carlson about White Supremacy ‘Hoax’

Kevin McAleenan on Fox and Friends.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan contradicted Fox News’ Tucker Carlson by saying “there is a rise” in white supremacy-fueled domestic terrorism.

Carlson, a conservative provocateur who often defends President Trump on controversial issues, has been pushing the narrative that an increase in white supremacy is a “hoax.”

When asked on Fox and Friends if domestic terrorism was really on the rise or if “it’s just being reported differently,” McAleenan responded, “I think there is a rise in the number of incidents.”

“The FBI director testified last month, about 850 domestic terrorism investigations ongoing, a number of those with racially motivated, violent extremest ideologies behind them,” McAleenan, a Trump appointee, said Wednesday.

McAleenan added that “we’ve got to get out in front of that, both on the prevention side and identifying individuals that are on a pathway to violence.” He said Homeland Security has been notifying schools and state and local officials about ways to identify potentially violent people before they act out.

“That’s what we have to do,” McAleenen said. “So there is a concern there is an increasing amount of violence in the targeted sense.”

Just three days after the mass shooting in El Paso, where the gunman wrote a manifesto about the “invasion of Hispanics” before killing 22 people, Carlson said white supremacy is “actually not a real problem in America.”

“It’s a hoax, just like the Russia hoax,” Carlson insisted. “It’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.”

White House Rejected DHS Strategy to Combat White Supremacy-Fueled Terrorism

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The White House repeatedly dismissed efforts by Homeland Security to focus more attention on combating the rise in domestic terrorism, which includes white supremacy cases, multiple sources told CNN.

“Homeland Security officials battled the White House for more than a year to get them to focus more on domestic terrorism,” one senior source close to the Trump administration told CNN. “The White House wanted to focus only on the jihadist threat which, while serious, ignored the reality that racial supremacist violence was rising fast here at home. They had major ideological blinders on.”

Homeland Security officials have been pushing for more than a year to make domestic terrorism a higher priority as part of the National Counterterrorism Strategy, but the White House has resisted every step of the way.

“Ultimately the White House just added one paragraph about domestic terrorism as a throw-away line” in the National Counterterrorism Strategy, according to a senior source involved in the discussion.

So as the FBI continues to warn about the rise of white supremacy-fueled domestic terrorism, the final version of the strategy is overwhelmingly focused on Islamic terrorism. A single paragraph of the strategy mentions “other forms of violent extremism.”

One former officials said he’s not surprised the White House would prioritize domestic terrorism “because the preponderance of it involves white supremacy and that’s not something this administration is comfortable speaking out against, until the other day by the president and even that was pretty hedged.”

Also this week, a former FBI counterterrorism agent said his former colleagues are reluctant to aggressively investigate white nationalist extremists because they are part of Trump’s base.

“I believe Christopher A. Wray is an honorable man, but I think in many ways the FBI is hamstrung in trying to investigate the white supremacist movement like the old FBI would,” the former agent, David Gomez, told The Washington Post. “There’s some reluctance among agents to bring forth an investigation that targets what the president perceives as his base. It’s a no-win situation for the FBI agent or supervisor.”

Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric is fueling hatred and making the country more dangerous, Democratic Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro told MSNBC.

“This was the deadliest attack on the Latino community in United States history,” Castro said. “The president blamed the media, the internet, video games. He did not look in the mirror and blame himself.”

How FBI Is Handling Mass Shooting Threats After Bloody Weekend

FBI Director Christopher Wray, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

About a week ago, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned the Senate that white supremacy is responsible for most domestic terrorism cases so far in 2019.

Then came Saturday, when a gunman who pledged to attack “as many Mexicans as possible” opened fire at an El Paso Walmart, killing 20 people and wounding 26 others. Early Sunday morning, another gunman killed 9 people and injured 26 others in just 30 seconds in Dayton, Ohio. The motive of that shooting remains unclear.

The bureau is worried the attacks will inspire more acts of violence.

“The FBI remains concerned that U.S.-based domestic violent extremists could become inspired by these and previous high-profile attacks to engage in similar acts of violence,” the bureau said in a news release. “The FBI asks the American public to report to law enforcement any suspicious activity that is observed either in person or online.”

So what’s the FBI doing about the threat of domestic terrorism? According to CNN, Wray has ordered a new threat assessment at the bureau’s offices nationwide in an attempt to stave off future attacks.

A command group at the FBI’s Washington headquarters will lead an effort to get field offices to identify threats of mass shootings.

The bureau also is assisting in the investigations of the shootings in Texas and Ohio.

“On behalf of the FBI, I offer sincere condolences to the victims, families, and communities affected by this weekend’s violence, and we stand by them during this difficult time. We will bring the full resources of the FBI to bear in the pursuit of justice for the victims of these crimes.” Wray said in a statement. “I am proud of our state and local law enforcement partners and the immediate response of FBI agents, analysts, and professional staff, working in close coordination to assist them. I have been in contact with the president and the attorney general, and they both have expressed their support for the FBI’s work in the wake of these tragedies.”