Credo Action

The Department of Homeland Security must fight right-wing domestic terrorism

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Statement lead-in:

“Right-wing terror poses a real and present threat. It’s time to get serious about stopping right-wing terrorism by reopening the Extremism and Radicalization Branch of the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division, issuing an updated report on domestic right-wing extremism, and deploying DHS resources to investigate and stop extremists.”

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    The Department of Homeland Security must fight right-wing domestic terrorism

    The right-wing extremists who have taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon are the latest reminder of the pressing danger facing this country from domestic terrorism — and of the failure of the federal government to confront this very real threat.

    Between April 2009 and February 2015 there were nearly 60 right-wing domestic terror attacks in the United States. Yet the government and the media have been far too silent about this epidemic.

    Our safety requires action.

    Tell the Department of Homeland Security: It’s time to get serious about stopping right-wing terrorism.

    Last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did release an intelligence assessment focused on right-wing “sovereign citizen” extremists and the severe threat they pose to law enforcement officials.1 A more comprehensive report from 2009 focused more broadly on the risk of domestic terror from white supremacists, radical anti-abortionists, and a few “disgruntled veterans” whose resentments could lead to domestic terrorism or recruitment by violent or extremist groups. But faced with backlash from conservatives, DHS withdrew the report and disbanded the unit that created it, the Extremism and Radicalization Branch of the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division.2

    In July, progressive champions in Congress, including Reps. Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva, sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson urging DHS to reopen the unit and issue an updated report on domestic right-wing extremism.3

    After a year in which a white supremacist murdered nine African-Americans in their church and an anti-abortion extremist killed three people in an attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic, it’s clear that right-wing terror needs to be taken seriously, and needs to be stopped. In October, the Justice Department, acknowledging that domestic terror was more of a threat than terror from ISIS or al Qaeda, created a new position, Domestic Terrorism Counsel, to coordinate the investigation and prosecution of anti-government and hate groups.4

    As the right-wing extremists in Congress and on the Republican presidential campaign trail work in concert with conservative media outlets to continue to ratchet up hateful rhetoric stoking fears and paranoia to incite anti-government, anti-woman, anti-immigrant and racist sentiments, it’s time for DHS to take a strong stand. Their priorities must match the real threats we face, not just the politically popular narratives that have been formed in our political media and landscape.

    Tell the Department of Homeland Security: It’s time to get serious about stopping right-wing terrorism. Sign the petition today.

    Thanks for taking action.

    References:

    1. Evan Soto and Wesley Bruer, “DHS intelligence report warns of domestic right-wing terror threat,” CNN, 2/20/2015.

    2. Annie-Rose Strasser, "Republicans Blasted Obama Administration For Warning About Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism," Think Progress, 8/7/2012.

    3. Robert Costa, “House Democrats urge Obama, DHS to target ‘violent right-wing extremism’,” Washington Post, 6/25/2015.

    4. Wesley Bruer, “DOJ pivots from ISIS to U.S. anti-government groups with new position," CNN, 10/15/2015.