“Just this week, we are releasing an implementation plan that outlines dozens of separate actions across the DHS enterprise designed to combat domestic terrorism and soon we will announce our Terrorism Prevention grant recipients,” acting secretary Chad Wolf said in a September 9 speech to his agency.
“Let me be clear — DHS stands in absolute opposition to any form of violent extremism, whether by white supremacist extremists or anarchist extremists,” he continued, adding “we will continue our daily efforts to combat all forms of domestic terror.”
The September 9 speech served as a partial answer to a letter and report by Democrats, which said that top officials at the DHS were trying to illegally downplay the intelligence reports about the threat of terror attacks by Americans alienated by the nation’s shifting demographics and politics.
For example, in August 2019, one gunman
attacked a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, and murdered 23 people, most of whom were Latinos.
The September 9
letter from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence cites a formal complaint of political interference in intelligence issues.
The complaint was made by Brian Murphy, who was recently removed from his intelligence job by top DHS officials. Murphy had been promoted into the job by Kevin McAleenan, who worked as a DHS secretary before the appointment of Wolf.
Numerous DHS officers and officials say McAleenan was a supporter of the Democrats’ 2016 nominee, Hillary Clinton.
letter to DHS was accompanied by a press release from committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) which addressed Murphy’s allegations that “senior White House and Department of Homeland Security officials improperly sought to politicize, manipulate, and censor intelligence in order to benefit President (Donald) Trump politically.”
The committee’s letter
claims that Wolf and acting Deputy Decretary Ken Cuccinelli improperly tried to influence the intelligence reports from Murphy, both to downplay the threat from white Americans and to elevate the threat from Antifa groups.
The complaint states that distribution of a Homeland Threat Assessment (HTA) report was “prohibited due to concerns raised by Messrs. Wolf and Cuccinelli regarding how the HTA would reflect upon President Trump. Two sections were specifically labeled as concerns: White Supremacy and Russian influence in the United States.
The complaint specifically alleges that “Mr. Cuccinelli stated that Mr. Murphy needed to specifically modify the section on White Supremacy in a manner that made the threat appear less severe, as well as include information on the prominence of violent ‘left-wing’ groups.
DHS has kept a low profile on domestic terrorism for more than a decade, partly because officials working for President Barack Obama sought to downplay the threat from Islamic beliefs and immigrants. Obama’s effort failed, in part, because Islamic political groups refused to openly cooperate with security forces. In 2015, as Trump was on the campaign trail, two Islamic terrorists — including an immigrant — machine-gunned an office party in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people.
In 2017, Trump’s deputies moved Obama’s
terrorism appointees out of critical positions and quietly sidelined Obama’s failed “Countering Violent Extremism” policy. Since then, Trump’s DHS has said little on domestic terrorism.