September 2, 2017 Posted by Daryl Johnson in Media Interviews

WASHINGTON, [DC]--On June 3, 2014, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. restarted a long-dormant domestic terrorism task force created after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. A former Ku Klux Klan leader had just murdered three people near a Jewish Community Center in a Kansas City suburb and yelled “Heil Hitler” as police took him into custody. For too long, Holder said, the federal government had narrowly focused on Islamist threats and had lost sight of the “continued danger we face” from violent far-right extremists. But three years later, it is unclear what, if anything the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee has done, despite expectations that its reanimation would better focus efforts throughout the Justice Department to disrupt and detect plots in a more centralized way, as was already being done by the department and FBI when it came to hunting Islamist terrorists. The issue also became ensnared in the country’s increasingly partisan politics. In 2009, for instance, a senior analyst at the Department of Homeland Security wrote a report warning that the election of a black president, the financial crisis and the stock market crash were fueling a resurgence of right-wing extremist activities. But the report was heavily criticized as an attack on conservative ideologies. After 20 conservative groups sponsored ads calling for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s dismissal, she said it was disseminated without regular review and apologized to the American Legion for the report’s warning that veterans could be targeted by militias for recruitment. The six-person unit that tracked domestic terrorism groups was dissolved months later. “They took us off the organizational chart,” said Daryl Johnson, who wrote the report. “We were all reassigned to regional teams, looking at al-Qaeda threats and Islamic extremism.” View More>>

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