The US Department of Homeland Security has issued its first-ever Homeland Security Assessment report in which it states the primary terrorist threat inside the United States comes from domestic violent extremist groups.
DHS officials define domestic violent extremists as people operating within the US, without affiliation with foreign terrorist groups or foreign powers; homegrown violent extremists or people or persons of any citizenship who live in the United States who advocate, engage in, or prepare to engage in ideologically-motivated acts of violence or terror.
The report, prefaced by Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, states that “racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically white supremacist extremists, will remain the most persistent and lethal threat in the Homeland.” The report fails to name any specific white supremacist groups.
The primary threat inside the U.S. stems from lone offenders and small cells of individuals – specifically those from Domestic Violent Extremists.
— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) October 6, 2020
But the report is not without its qualified critics. The director and a senior analyst for Homeland Security & Counterterrorism at the Center for Security Policy, Kyle Shideler, raised red flags about the use of certain verbiage in the report and the lack of specificity in identifying said domestic violent extremist groups.
Shideler said that while the descriptor of white supremacists is reasonable, no other groups were clearly and specifically identified, such as homegrown jihadists or black supremacists.
“The descriptor of ‘racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists’ is almost completely opaque,” Shideler said. “We can only presume from context that this refers to black separatist or black supremacist extremists such as those acting in support of Black Lives Matter.”
“It is also somewhat disconcerting that the DHS report attributes their motives to ‘social injustice,’ which seems wholly inappropriate. Can it be any wonder that white supremacists are identified as the highest-ranking threat, when it appears to be the only threat that is permitted to be identified by name?”
In recent times, more violence and destruction – more terrorism by definition – has been perpetrated at the hands of groups with a focus on anti-government and anti-authority ideology than the limited number of verifiable attacks by white supremist groups. Many of these anti-government and anti-authority groups have been linked to plots and attacks, including attacks against law enforcement and government buildings.
In Portland alone, federal officers suffered over 300 injuries at the hands of violent elements of Black Lives Matter and Antifa operatives.