DHS Thinks Homeland Will Be More Secure If Two Federal Agencies Ignore Domestic Terrorists

from the all-threats,-but-really-just-the-foreign-ones dept

The Department of Homeland Security isn't all that interested in securing the homeland, it appears.

The Department of Homeland Security 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.

This shift of focus away from a growing problem was a move made by the Trump administration. The head of this department, David Glawe, dissolved the branch handling domestic terrorism, even as acts of domestic terrorism continued to increase. The DHS likes securing the homeland, but only if it involves targeting people from other countries. The war at home can continue to be waged as far as its concerned.

The DHS apparently feels the FBI should handle the problem of securing the homeland against domestic threats.

Two former DHS officials, speaking anonymously because their current employers did not authorize them to speak to the press, said this change eliminates redundancy in the government. These officials argued that the responsibility for preventing domestic terrorism lies with the FBI, rather than with DHS.

This is as much the FBI's fault as anyone's. The FBI declared long ago it was now a counterterrorism agency, rather than a law enforcement agency. The problem with leaving this up to the FBI is the FBI is no more interested in combating domestic terrorism than the DHS.

[T]he FBI claimed for several years that far-right violence, though the most lethal, was not the top domestic terrorism threat. From 2004 through 2008, the FBI designated “eco-terrorism” the number one threat within the United States, despite not a single fatality attributed to environmental activists. The FBI still devotes substantial counterterrorism resources to tracking political activists protesting oil and gas pipelines at Standing Rock and elsewhere, and even harassing the lawyers that assist them. In 2017, FBI agents raided two animal sanctuaries as part of a multi-state investigation to locate two piglets rescued from a factory farm, reportedly cutting off a piece of one piglet’s ear to obtain DNA samples for testing. This seems a questionable use of resources, particularly when thousands of violent hate crimes against human beings are going unaddressed.

In another instance of taking its eye off the ball, weeks before the deadly white nationalist riot at Charlottesville, the FBI issued an assessment warning police that black activists protesting police violence posed a threat to them. It even invented a term for it — the “Black Identity Extremist” movement — to justify increasing scrutiny. Its first attempted prosecution of a prominent member of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, an armed black self-defense group in Dallas, Texas, failed. The FBI continues to monitor and harass Black Lives Matter activists, visiting their homes in advance of protests, potentially chilling their participation.

The FBI's favored counterterrorism efforts are sting operations that utilize undercover informants to radicalize an assortment of weak and helpless people before handing them over to federal prosecutors. The FBI has probably created far more would-be terrorists during its counterterrorism efforts than social media. When the FBI deigns to examine domestic terrorism, it decides to go after people who threaten established industries or the justice system's status quo.

The FBI knows the domestic problem is growing:

Internal FBI figures reviewed by the paper show more domestic terror suspects were arrested in 2018 than “those allegedly inspired by international terror groups.”

According to FBI data, 150 Americans were arrested for planning to engage in acts of domestic terrorism in 2017, compared to 110 international suspects; in 2018, the ratio was 120 to 100.

Like many federal government agencies -- especially those tied to law enforcement -- the FBI and DHS have allowed terrorism to become an eye-of-the-beholder sort of thing. The DHS throws time and money at border security and hassling travelers at international airports. The FBI focuses on ISIS-inspired terrorism, conveniently forgetting plenty of other belief systems are capable of producing violent acolytes.

There's really only one conclusion to draw from this: domestic terrorism is ignored because it usually involves Good Americans™ with white skin and American flag bumper stickers. Foreign terrorism involves brown people of indeterminate origin. This may not necessarily indicate the agencies are filled with racists, but this selective distribution of talent and resources doesn't encourage many alternate theories.

These agencies are supposed to defend us from all threats foreign and domestic. It's just not happening. This is a continuation of the proud American tradition of implicitly viewing foreigners as a threat and white, male citizens as the personification of patriotic virtue. The world may have changed radically over the past several decades, but one narrative -- foreign threats -- still plays better to the home crowd than the idea their friends and neighbors may be planning to shoot up a mosque or drive a vehicle into a crowd of protesters. It's depressing enough that a significant percentage of the US population thinks only people who don't look like them can be dangerous. It's morally repugnant federal agencies reflect this mindset in their priorities.

Filed Under: dhs, doj, domestic terrorism, fbi, hate groups


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 12:33pm

    Perhaps it is time to suggest we stop using the metrics pushed by the MBA's as the right thing.

    The FBI scores all sorts of points & kudos when they "stop" an incident. It doesn't matter if they created it by leaning on someone with mental deficits, they caught a terrorist!!
    Of course they manage to overlook all of the real terrorism plots (that they should be aware of given the massive spying on citizens) and use those tragedies to demand moar power/money/etc.

    DHS scores all sorts of points being a propaganda machine for the current administration. They are enabled by the insane belief that if we just burn a bit more of the Constitution we can be 100% safe from the terrorists!! Of course the definition of terrorist is always changing and growing so they can pad their success rating. (See also: Code Pink, BLM, Occupy Grannies, and a long list of people engaged in what is supposed to be Constitutional protected activities that upset someone with power.)

    The course has been set, all terrorists are outside the country & sitting on the borders waiting to spring into action so we have to focus on the outside while ignoring the terror being caused by the 'good guys'. Thats a nice car you have & this shitty field test says meth so its ours now. Oh your kid sold $40 of pot, thanks for the house.

    All of the actions are about grabbing headlines to distract people from how bad things are getting for citizens.

    TSA gropes & robs us. They facilitate the smuggling of drugs & one of them offered to help move guns or bombs. They are always isolated incidents, never a reflection on we hired people off the tops of pizza boxes, did no background checking, & gave them unchecked power over citizens lives.

    DHS put journalists on the list of people to be stopped & harassed at the border, under the belief they created & ran the caravans from South American countries to or border (ignoring that our own foriegn policies have helped lead to those nations into the chaos that makes people feel to the great USA where people are welcomed & there is opportunity. Where hard work earns you a living and you don't have to fear 6 different gangs taxing your earnings to protect your child from harm.

    They believe their own hype & Congress is so detached from reality they are unquestioning of the facts behind the reports of 'We stopped a bombing plot'. So what if they terrorist was 17, had learning disabilities, was socially isolated, & WE groomed him into being a 'lone wolf terrorist'. We made the plan, we sent in a CI (offered breaks on their law breaking) to help push them over the edge (and sometimes lie about events to keep their deal running).

    The terrorists have become those with badges. They can force you to have dangerous medical exams done. b/c they are SURE there are drugs in your ass that weren't found with the 15 other tests... and the courts grant them QI b/c no one ever told them forcing medication & camera into a suspect could be a violation of the targets rights. How many laws have we seen proposed to keep the cops happy by trying to make it a crime to video them, say mean words to them, or just give them cover for retaliating against people they have personal issues with.

    Less than the number of people killed in drunk driving accidents in a year lead to us being searched before getting on planes & limiting liquids...
    But the number of people killed in houses of worship hasn't lead to anything more than thoughts and prayers, despite the perp having ACTIVELY posted about their ideals & desire to kill those who worship differently... but the real terrorists are flying from shithole Muslim majority countries to South American countries, then joining migrant caravans of people seeking better lives & spending months on a dangerous trek to get here and pull off a huge attack on the US... b/c they know us being felt up before flying would defeat them & reveal their evil terrorist intentions if they flew directly here.


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.