A report from the Department of Homeland Security cast white supremacy as the greatest terror threat to the US, according to Politico.
The outlet reported it viewed three draft reports by the department, all of which describe in similar language that white supremacy is the biggest threat ahead of other concerns from foreign terrorist groups and disinformation efforts from Russia.
The three drafts of DHS’s State of the Homeland Threat Assessment 2020 were all produced in August, and describe white supremacy in a vague group of “Domestic Violent Extremists,” according to the report.
In a paragraph of “Key Takeaways,” the outlet wrote that the three drafts of the report do conclude “white supremacist extremists (WSEs) will remain the most persistent and lethal threat in the Homeland through 2021.”
The reports echo conclusions that have been longheld in US intelligence agencies in regards to threats posed by white supremacists but highlight how violent actors could capitalize on recent civil unrest across the country.
“Violent extremists almost certainly will continue their efforts to exploit public fears associated with COVID-19 and social grievances driving lawful protests to incite violence, intimidate targets, and promote their violent extremist ideologies,” the second and third drafts reviewed by POLITICO say. “Simple tactics – such as vehicle ramming, small arms, edged weapons, arson, and rudimentary improvised explosive devices – probably will be most common.”
Protests that began after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody in March dominated the streets in cities across the US for weeks in huge demonstrations against police brutality and racism.
President Donald Trump and some of his allies have repeatedly bashed the protests after reports of violent incidents. He specifically blamed Antifa for the violence, which none of the drafts referred to, according to Politico.
CNN reported that Trump dodged condemning violence from right-wing agitators and even appeared to defend 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who faces homicide charges after a shooting that killed two at a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Social media accounts that appear to be Rittenhouse’s showed the teen is an avid supporter of police, guns, and the Blue Lives Matter movement, Insider’s Haven Orrechio-Egresitz reported.
Rittenhouse, who was seen with a militia group before the shooting, “probably would have been killed” if he hadn’t fired a semiautomatic rifle at nearby protesters, Trump said at the White House last week.
Two top congressional Republicans echoed Trump’s bashing of violence in Democratic-run cities with a letter demanding information from Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on how the city has handled what they called “left-wing agitators,”
“Like other Democrat-run cities, the District of Columbia (D.C.) under your leadership has allowed radical left-wing violent extremists to commit senseless acts of violence and destruction,” Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and James Comer of Kentucky wrote in the letter. “By your inaction in response to their mayhem, these left-wing agitators have become emboldened to be even more aggressive and more dangerous.”
Business Insider’s John Haltiwanger previously reported that data on extremism shows far-right groups in the US have been tied to dozens of fatal incidents, while Antifa, which is not a centralized group and has not been designated a terror threat by any US agency, has not been found responsible for any killings.
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