GOP demanded retraction of a DHS report on right-wing domestic terrorism—which we now are seeing more frequently
Under George W. Bush, the Department of Homeland Security wrote reports evaluating terrorism threats from various sources, including domestic left-wing terrorism and (in a separate report) domestic right-wing terrorism. The report was not finalized and released until Barack Obama took office, and the Republicans in Congress went berserk, though only about the report on the likelihood of right-wing domestic terrorists.
Conservatives are extremely tribal, much like the Taliban, and place an extremely high value on loyalty. They perceived the report an attack on members of their tribe—who unfortunately were involved in domestic terrorism, but still a member of the conservative tribe, to be defended at all costs, particularly since the report came out when a Democratic administration was in office (though the report had been initiated and completed under a Republican administration, that of George W. Bush).
Now the chickens so assiduously protected and ignored are coming home to roost. Curtis Tate reports at McClatchy:
In April 2009, Daryl Johnson found himself caught in a firestorm because of a report he’d authored at the Department of Homeland Security.
It warned of a surge in activity by right-wing groups, including militias, white supremacists, anti-government activists and others motivated by racial grievance toward the nation’s first black president and the consequences of a faltering economy.
Republicans in Congress slammed the report as an attack on conservatives. Then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized for the report and it was withdrawn. Johnson’s unit was disbanded.
Nearly eight years later, Johnson’s warnings have proved prescient in a string of incidents from the murders of a Kansas abortion doctor and a security guard at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington to mass shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and an African-American church in South Carolina.
And last week, a foiled alleged plot by three militiamen to attack an apartment complex inhabited by Muslim Somali immigrants in western Kansas further demonstrated that it isn’t just foreign terrorists or those sympathetic to them that Americans have to worry about.
“This is exactly the type of threat we were talking about,” said Johnson, who’s now a homeland security consultant. “It’s continued to grow over the past eight years.”
Three Kansas men – Curtis Allen, 49, Gavin Wright, 49, and Patrick Stein, 47 – were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday with one count of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. The three are accused of plotting to detonate truck bombs around the complex in Garden City, Kansas, where 120 people live and worship.
The FBI arrested the men last Friday in Liberal, Kansas, after an undercover investigation.
According to a complaint filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kansas, the men belonged to a militia group called the Crusaders, known for its anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-government views.
The group referred to the Somali immigrants, who work at a local meatpacking plant, as “cockroaches,” the complaint said.
The men had discussed using rocket-propelled grenades to attack the complex, proposed dipping bullets in pig’s blood and even considered something similar to the fertilizer-and-fuel-oil combination Timothy McVeigh used in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, according to the complaint.
“I’ll blow every goddamn building up right there,” Stein allegedly said.
The three even talked about attacking area churches that supported the Somali migrants, according to the complaint, and said they wouldn’t even spare the children any mercy.
“The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim,” Stein allegedly said.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks the activities of extremist groups, the number of anti-Muslim hate groups has increased 42 percent since 2014.
“This is just symptomatic of the really unprecedented rise in anti-Muslim bigotry in our society,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Hooper and others say the federal government’s focus on terrorism from abroad, or domestic terrorism carried out by people sympathetic to foreign terrorist groups, is diverting attention from threats against Muslims and where they live and worship.
“The attitude seems to be it cannot be terrorism unless a Muslim commits an act of violence,” he said.
Hooper said Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had fueled anti-Muslim bias by calling for, among other things, a ban on Muslims entering the country and widespread surveillance of mosques.
“All of this stuff adds up,” he said.
The suspects in Kansas allegedly were planning to carry out their attack Nov. 9 – the day after Election Day. Trump’s campaign has struggled in recent weeks, and he’s fallen behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the polls.
“The militia and anti-government types are using the election to recruit more people and fuel more paranoia,” Johnson said. . .
More at the link, including video.