Domestic Terrorism

‘Nobody wanted to write a report’

Written by SK Ashby

Major events including public events that don't even involve lawmakers or public officials are usually assessed for the level of threat there is to the crowds attending them, but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not publish an assessment for Trump's rally that turned into an assault on the capitol building last week.

According to sources who spoke to Talking Points Memo, DHS did not publish an assessment because none were ever written. They say analysts were effectively intimidated out of ever writing about right wing domestic terrorism.

Across conversations with multiple former DHS officials and analysts, TPM found that a top-down aversion from the Trump administration towards addressing the threat of far-right extremism, inept management, and the dismantling of DHS bureaucracies aimed at coordinating, analyzing, and disseminating information about extremist groups contributed to the lack of warning.

“Nobody wanted to write a formal intelligence report about this, in part out of fear that such a report would be very poorly received by the MAGA folks within DHS,” one former DHS official who served in the Trump administration told TPM, on condition of anonymity to speak freely.

Everyone undoubtedly remembers that time when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a memo on the threat of right wing domestic terrorism that may include attacks carried about by veterans and police officers. Right wing media and elected Republicans in Congress lost their collective shit over it and the Obama administration withdrew the memo.

That's not going to happen this time. Veterans and officers were actually involved in last week's attempted coup and public opinion is in a significantly different position than it was 10 years ago.

We have to be clear-eyed about where the threats are coming from because it would only take one disgruntled officer or agent to do something unthinkable. A new era of right wing terrorism is probably just beginning, not ending, and the federal government cannot be intimidated out of clearly assessing the threat.

I feel fairly confident the incoming Biden administration will take every threat seriously and won't shy away from all relevant assessments. Biden himself may speak of unity and healing in public, but his national security team will do what's necessary.