With illegal migrants crossing the southern border by the hundreds of thousands and setting new records by the month, the Department of Homeland Security’s top priority — somehow — is “domestic violent extremism,” and it doesn’t even mean Antifa.
“President Joe Biden’s top appointees have called white supremacists the greatest security threat to the country and are pushing for bolstered intelligence gathering,” the Associated Press reported last week, noting that DHS “plans to ramp up social media tracking as part of an enhanced focus on domestic violent extremism,” for which the department has opened a new office in its intelligence branch.
Yes, the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was awful, but that collection of crackpots is no serious national-security threat or there’d have been some sign of more such trouble in the months since.
Yet Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines published a “threat assessment” focusing on “white extremism.” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has ordered an internal review to address “threats” within the department’s ranks. (“Domestic violent extremism poses the most lethal and persistent terrorism-related threat to our country today,” he declared.)
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a 60-day stand down in February to review the ranks of the military for this extremism. And Attorney General Merrick Garland marked the 26th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing by saying, “The Department of Justice is pouring its resources into stopping domestic violent extremists before they can attack.”
It doesn’t end. As soon as the CDC relaxed its guidance for the vaccinated, DHS announced: “Violent extremists may seek to exploit the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions across the United States to conduct attacks against a broader range of targets after previous public capacity limits reduced opportunities for lethal attacks,” adding that the violent, fueled by “false narratives,” are “likely to exploit Constitutionally-protected freedom of speech activity.”
But the main pusher of false narratives is the Biden administration itself. Yes, the FBI and others should certainly keep an eye on all extremist activity (and you can bet that the feds have infiltrated all known groups), but all the facts on the ground suggest the main such threat is on the left, such as the Antifa loons plaguing Portland.
Yet here’s DHS, looking to end-run the Constitution to use third parties to surveil right-wing activity it can’t legally monitor itself.
We don’t doubt that Democratic officials across the country get a ton of nasty hate mail and social-media abuse. But so do Republicans — it’s the world we all live in now. By endlessly flogging a menace that plainly doesn’t exist on any meaningful scale, all Team Biden is doing is feeding paranoia and deepening the nation’s divisions.
ThinkCivics researches, examines, and reports on issues that matter most. We deliver explanative, fearless, and insightful analysis for public consumption.