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Tag: domestic terrorism

FBI: Army Soldier Strategized Attacking Major News Network, Beto O’Rourke

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Army soldier was arrested on allegations of planning to attack a major American news network, providing online instructions on building a bomb and strategizing an attack on Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.

The 24-year-old soldier, Jarret William Smith, also expressed interest in joining a violent far-right paramilitary group in Ukraine and killing members of Antifa, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Smith, who was assigned to the First Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kan., has been charged with distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction.

Smith faces up to 24 years in prison.

Before joining the Army, Smith expressed interest in fighting in the Ukraine with a far-right group, according charging documents.

“No former military experience, but if I cannot find a slot in Ulaaine [SIC] by October I’ll be going into the Akmy [SIC],” Smith is accused of writing on Facebook chat. “To fight is what I want to do. I’m willing to listen, learn, and train. But to work on Firerums [SIC] is fine by me too.”

After joining the Army, Smith returned to Facebook chat to say he “got knowledge of IEDs for days.”

“We can make cell phone IEDs in the style of the Afghans. I can teach you that.”

House Democrats: Trump’s Administration Turns Blind Eye to White Nationalism

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Democrats are questioning why Trump’s administration “is failing to address white supremacist, extremist violence” as domestic terrorism is on the rise.

Consider this: All race-based domestic terrorism in 2018 was committed by alleged white supremacists. When the Department of Homeland Security wanted to increase its focus on domestic terrorism, the White House intervened and rejected the idea.

So alarmed by the surge in white supremacist violence, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Congress in July that “a majority of domestic terrorism cases are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.”

So why does it appear Trump’s administration is not taking the threat seriously?

In a letter to the leadership of the FBI and Homeland Security, 65 House Democrats said white supremacy must be met with a “vigorous, systemic and coordinated response.”

“We are concerned that the Trump administration is jeopardizing our national security by failing to take domestic terrorism seriously,” the letter reads. “In particular, this administration is failing to address white supremacist extremist violence, the leading cause of domestic terrorism.”

The letter adds, “It is unacceptable that political interference from the White House should prevent domestic terrorism from receiving the elevated level of focus it deserves, especially following recent, high profile terrorist attacks.”

28 People Accused of Threatening Mass Shootings Since El Paso, Dayton Massacres

Photo via ATF.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

At least 28 people have been arrested on allegations of threatening to commit mass shootings since 31 people were killed in massacres in Texas and Ohio about a month ago.

In the wake of the attacks, FBI Director Christopher Wray urged law enforcement agencies across the country to become more vigilant in their search for potential mass shooters.

The targets of the threats ranged from schools and Walmart to a health clinic and Army recruitment center, according to CNN.

Some of the suspects were white nationalists, including an 18-year-old man accused of threatening a mass shooting at a Jewish community center in Youngstown, Oh. A 35-year-old Maryland man was charged after calling for the “extermination” of Hispanics.

In July, the FBI director said that white supremacy is behind an increase in domestic terrorism cases. In the past nine months, the FBI has recorded about 100 domestic terrorism arrests, which is an increase over previous years.

“A majority of the domestic terrorism cases we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence,” Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

President Trump initially said he was exploring gun control measures, such as more background checks, but it appears he has distanced himself from taking any action.

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.