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Tag: domestic terrorism

GOP Senator Drafts Bill to Make Domestic Terrorism a Federal Crime

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., has drafted a bill to make domestic terrorism a federal crime as experts continue to warn about a rise in white supremacy-fueled violence.

The Air Force veteran said her legislation would close a loophole that bars federal authorities from charging suspects with domestic terrorism.

“For too long we have allowed those who commit heinous acts of domestic terrorism to be charged with related crimes that don’t portray the full scope of their hateful actions,” McSally told Politico.

“That stops with my bill,” she added. “The bill I am introducing will give federal law enforcement the tools they have asked for so that they can punish criminals to the fullest extent of the law.”

McSally’s actions follow the FBI’s new warning about domestic terrorism threats after the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

According to the bill, “violent extremists could become inspired by these and previous high-profile attacks to engage in similar acts of violence.”

The FBI defines domestic terror as acts of violence “perpetrated by individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with primarily U.S.-based movements that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.”

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Contradicts Tucker Carlson about White Supremacy ‘Hoax’

Kevin McAleenan on Fox and Friends.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan contradicted Fox News’ Tucker Carlson by saying “there is a rise” in white supremacy-fueled domestic terrorism.

Carlson, a conservative provocateur who often defends President Trump on controversial issues, has been pushing the narrative that an increase in white supremacy is a “hoax.”

When asked on Fox and Friends if domestic terrorism was really on the rise or if “it’s just being reported differently,” McAleenan responded, “I think there is a rise in the number of incidents.”

“The FBI director testified last month, about 850 domestic terrorism investigations ongoing, a number of those with racially motivated, violent extremest ideologies behind them,” McAleenan, a Trump appointee, said Wednesday.

McAleenan added that “we’ve got to get out in front of that, both on the prevention side and identifying individuals that are on a pathway to violence.” He said Homeland Security has been notifying schools and state and local officials about ways to identify potentially violent people before they act out.

“That’s what we have to do,” McAleenen said. “So there is a concern there is an increasing amount of violence in the targeted sense.”

Just three days after the mass shooting in El Paso, where the gunman wrote a manifesto about the “invasion of Hispanics” before killing 22 people, Carlson said white supremacy is “actually not a real problem in America.”

“It’s a hoax, just like the Russia hoax,” Carlson insisted. “It’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.”

White House Rejected DHS Strategy to Combat White Supremacy-Fueled Terrorism

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The White House repeatedly dismissed efforts by Homeland Security to focus more attention on combating the rise in domestic terrorism, which includes white supremacy cases, multiple sources told CNN.

“Homeland Security officials battled the White House for more than a year to get them to focus more on domestic terrorism,” one senior source close to the Trump administration told CNN. “The White House wanted to focus only on the jihadist threat which, while serious, ignored the reality that racial supremacist violence was rising fast here at home. They had major ideological blinders on.”

Homeland Security officials have been pushing for more than a year to make domestic terrorism a higher priority as part of the National Counterterrorism Strategy, but the White House has resisted every step of the way.

“Ultimately the White House just added one paragraph about domestic terrorism as a throw-away line” in the National Counterterrorism Strategy, according to a senior source involved in the discussion.

So as the FBI continues to warn about the rise of white supremacy-fueled domestic terrorism, the final version of the strategy is overwhelmingly focused on Islamic terrorism. A single paragraph of the strategy mentions “other forms of violent extremism.”

One former officials said he’s not surprised the White House would prioritize domestic terrorism “because the preponderance of it involves white supremacy and that’s not something this administration is comfortable speaking out against, until the other day by the president and even that was pretty hedged.”

Also this week, a former FBI counterterrorism agent said his former colleagues are reluctant to aggressively investigate white nationalist extremists because they are part of Trump’s base.

“I believe Christopher A. Wray is an honorable man, but I think in many ways the FBI is hamstrung in trying to investigate the white supremacist movement like the old FBI would,” the former agent, David Gomez, told The Washington Post. “There’s some reluctance among agents to bring forth an investigation that targets what the president perceives as his base. It’s a no-win situation for the FBI agent or supervisor.”

Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric is fueling hatred and making the country more dangerous, Democratic Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro told MSNBC.

“This was the deadliest attack on the Latino community in United States history,” Castro said. “The president blamed the media, the internet, video games. He did not look in the mirror and blame himself.”

FBI Launches Domestic Terrorism Investigation into Gilroy Mass Shooting

Gilroy gunman Santino William Legan.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI said Tuesday it’s launching a domestic terrorism investigation into the July 28 mass shooting in Gilroy, Calif., because authorities uncovered evidence that he was influenced by “violent ideologies.”

Investigators uncovered evidence that 19-year-old gunman, Santino William Legan, had a “target list” of political organizations, religious institutions, federal buildings, and courthouse, the FBI said at a news conference Tuesday.

Three people were killed and 13 others were injured in the shooting. Legan turned the gun on himself.

Investigators have yet to determine a motive and are trying to determine whether his “fractured ideologies” played a role in the shooting, said John F. Bennett, special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Francisco office.

The FBI did not reveal the specifics on the list.

About an hour before he opened fire with a AK-47-style rifle, Legan posted about a white supremacist manifesto on Instagram. He encouraged his Instagram followers to read, “Might Is Right or the Survival of the Fittest,” a fringe book that describes black and Jewish people as inferior and advocates for women as property.

The FBI also opened a domestic terrorism investigation into the gunman who killed 22 people at an El Paso Walmart. The 21-year-old suspect is accused of writing an online manifesto about his hatred for immigrants.

In late July, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Senate committee that white supremacy is behind an increase in domestic terrorism cases this fiscal year.

FBI Agents Reluctant to Investigate White Supremacy Because of Trump, Said Counterterrorism Expert

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents are reluctant to aggressively investigate white nationalist extremists because they are part of President Trump’s base, according to a former FBI counterterrorism agent.

“I believe Christopher A. Wray is an honorable man, but I think in many ways the FBI is hamstrung in trying to investigate the white supremacist movement like the old FBI would,” the former agent, David Gomez, told The Washington Post. “There’s some reluctance among agents to bring forth an investigation that targets what the president perceives as his base. It’s a no-win situation for the FBI agent or supervisor.”

Some of that hesitation, Gomez said, stems from Trump’s repeated criticism of the FBI during the special counsel investigation.

The comments follow a massacre carried out Saturday by a gunman at an El Paso Walmart, where at least 20 people were killed. Investigators said the gunman posted an anti-immigration manifesto shortly before the shooting.

Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric is fueling hatred and making the country more dangerous, Democratic Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro told MSNBC.

“This was the deadliest attack on the Latino community in United States history,” Castro said. “The president blamed the media, the internet, video games. He did not look in the mirror and blame himself.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray recently told the Senate Judiciary Committee that a majority of the domestic terrorism cases are motivated by white supremacist ideologies.

FBI: Far-right Conspiracy Theories Are Motivating Domestic Terrorism

The pizzeria behind the conspiracy theory known as Pizzagate. Photo by Farragutful.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Conspiracy theories peddled online are motivating people to commit domestic terrorism, the FBI wrote in an internal threat assessment.

The bulletin, first obtained by Yahoo News, says “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” are a growing threat in the U.S.

“The FBI assesses anti-government, identity based, and fringe political conspiracy theories very likely motivate some domestic extremists, wholly or in part, to commit criminal and sometimes violent activity,” the report states. “The FBI further assesses in some cases these conspiracy theories very likely encourage the targeting of specific people, places, and organizations, thereby increasing the likelihood of violence against these targets. These assessments are made with high confidence, based on information from other law enforcement agencies, open source information, court documents, human sources with varying degrees of access and corroboration, and FBI investigations.”

The conspiracy theories are often rooted in white supremacy and anti-government ideologies. The FBI specifically mentions QAnon, a far-right conspiracy about a secret plot to remove President Trump from office, and Pizzagate, a belief that Hillary Clinton and her associates are running a pedophile ring out of a pizzeria basement, which doesn’t exist.

Also mentioned in the document is the gunman who killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Before the massacre, the shooter referenced the Zionist Occupation Government conspiracy theory.

With the rise of social media, conspiracy theories have been on the rise. Trump is often accused of fueling the hate that propels the conspiracy theories. In fact, he was arguably the loudest messenger of the conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the U.S.

As president, Trump continues to peddle conspiracy theories about “fake news” and a “witch hunt” to oust him.

The FBI recently warned that white supremacy is behind a majority of the domestic terrorism cases in the U.S. That has given rise to QAnon.

“Although conspiracy theory-driven crime and violence is not a new phenomenon, today’s information environment has changed the way conspiracy theories develop, spread, and evolve,” the report states. “The advent of the Internet and social media has enabled promoters of conspiracy theories to produce and share greater volumes of material via online platforms that larger audience of consumers can quickly and easily access.”

FBI Handled More Domestic Terrorism Cases Than International Terrorism This Fiscal Year

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of domestic terrorism arrests have exceeded international terrorism arrests in the current fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.

Domestic cases were 66, compared to 63 international cases.

The trend has prompted the FBI to focus more of its attention on home-grown extremists, a senior FBI counterterrorism official told Reuters.

One recent attack in the U.S. involved a mass shooting that left 11 people dead at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Many of the attacks involve racially motivated and anti-government extremism, as well as attacks on abortion clinics.

The Internet has been a key source of radicalization in the U.S.

“Terrorism moves at the speed of the Internet,” the official said.

Domestic Terrorism Remains ‘Persistent And Evolving,” FBI Official Says

FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The threats posed by domestic terrorists remain “persistent and evolving,” with the FBI investigating about 850 active cases, FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity told the House Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday.

“The FBI assesses domestic terrorists collectively pose a persistent and evolving threat of violence and economic harm to the United States. In fact, there have been more arrests and deaths in the United States caused by domestic terrorists than international terrorists in recent years,” McGarrity said, according to CNN.

Of those cases, about 40% are racially motivated, often involving white supremacists, he said.

Despite this, President Trump has insisted white nationalism isn’t a serious threat, saying “it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.” That comes after Trump’s lukewarm response to the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, that left one person dead and others injured.

During Wednesday’s hearings, Democrats seized on Trump’s insistence on downplaying the threat posed by white supremacists.

“Unfortunately, President Trump has tried to play both sides with domestic terrorism,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat who leads the committee. “His unwillingness to denounce and distance himself from these extremists has been taken by many as tacit support.”

In 2018, 17 people were killed in six attacks by domestic terrorists, McGarrity said.