The Daily Escape:
(Wrongo apologizes for the lack of articles, as other priorities have intervened. He has responsibilities on his town’s Municipal Road Committee. We are preparing to spend about $10 Million on improving our roads. There are very tight deadlines for finishing our analysis, getting approval of the town council, holding a referendum, and then going to the bond market for the funds. This is a huge time sink. So, for the next 10 days, posting may be intermittent.)
From The Daily Beast: (parenthesis by Wrongo)
“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has disbanded a group of intelligence analysts who focused on domestic terrorism, The Daily Beast has learned. Numerous current and former DHS officials say they find the development concerning, as the threat of homegrown terrorism—including white supremacist terrorism—is growing.”
The group in question was a branch of DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A). They focused on the threat from homegrown extremists and domestic terrorists. Their analysts shared information with state and local law enforcement to help them protect communities from these threats. According to the Daily Beast, the reorganization happened last year, and had not been previously reported.
DHS defended the reorganization. Pressed by The Daily Beast, a senior DHS official pushed back:
“The same people are working on the issues….We just restructured things to be more responsive to the…customers within DHS and in local communities while reducing overlap with what the FBI does. We actually believe we are far more effective now.”
Ok. But one local community “client” is Los Angeles, and Sgt. Mike Abdeen with the LA County Sheriff’s Department told The Daily Beast:
“It’s been very quiet lately….It’s changed with the new administration. It doesn’t seem to be as robust, as active, as important…it’s not a priority. It doesn’t seem like engagement, outreach, and prevention are seen as a priority as we used to see in the past. There were roundtable meetings in the past…more training, more seminars. Now it seems like it’s gone away.”
Nobody would say that domestic terrorism has been declining, so you have to decide whether this is an unintended consequence of another Trump appointee trying to streamline a government process, or whether it is an intentional effort to bury bad news about elements within Trump’s base of support.
Is Trump’s ability to appoint people who will undermine the efforts of our civil service better, or worse than his use of the judges’ roster provided by the Federalist Society to pack the courts?
Wrongo votes that it’s a tie.
Trump has said repeatedly that he doesn’t consider white nationalist groups to be an actual threat. So out goes the white nationalist task force.
Is this merely DHS accepting the viewpoint that when a disgruntled white male takes an assault rifle and kills people in a school or Synagogue, he isn’t committing an act of terror, he’s merely a troubled person expressing concern about the fragility of the few remaining white people in America?
This is a GOP problem. There’s been a consistent drumbeat to sweep right-wing terrorism under the rug, and it predates Trump. Consider that in 2009, the Obama administration’s DHS released a report warning about Rightwing Extremism. The report warned that “rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues.” It also predicted that the possibility of new gun restrictions and the return of “military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities” might mean “emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”
That report called this convergence of factors the “most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States”. Republicans went ballistic:
“Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) said the administration was “awfully willing to paint law-abiding Americans, including war veterans, as ‘extremists.’” Then-Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) — the top Republican on the House Veterans’ Affairs committee at the time — called it “inconceivable” that some veterans could pose a threat.”
“The Secretary of Homeland Security owes the American people an explanation for why…her own Department is using [“terrorist”] to describe American citizens who disagree with the direction Washington Democrats are taking our nation…”
Then-DHS head Janet Napolitano was forced to apologize, and she soon buried the report.
FWIW, Christopher Hasson, the Coast Guard officer who was a “domestic terrorist” and self-described white nationalist was arrested in February. But he’s not Muslim, so no worries, nothing more to see here.
Wrongo is old-school enough to believe that Republicans used to care about all of America. That they had different (and usually wrong-headed) approaches to our priorities and the solutions to problems, but they wanted what’s good for the country in general.
It’s gone. Trump-Republicans only want good things for people in their in-crowd. That excludes the majority of Americans.
Trump doesn’t want to stop domestic terrorism by white nationalists. He wants to harness it.