Many Americans have been frustrated by the Obama administration’s inexplicable lack of strategy — and, dare I say, engagement — in fighting the Islamic extremism sweeping the globe and now germinating within our own borders. Well, this week’s announcement from President Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) may clear things up a bit. Apparently, the administration believes it has bigger fish than ISIS to fry — things like “anti-government” groups in the U.S.
CNN reported this story under the headline, “DOJ pivots from ISIS to U.S. anti-government groups with new position.”
And already, liberals are connecting the DOJ’s new focus with leading GOP presidential candidates — suggesting chilling implications for constitutional conservatives from the new DOJ office.
As CNN reports:
To help combat them, the department has created a new counsel that will coordinate the investigation and prosecution of anti-government and hate groups.
Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, who oversees national security at the Justice Department, announced the new position — the Domestic Terrorism Counsel — following a number of violent attacks or plots against the U.S. that he said were motivated by “anti-government views, racism, bigotry and anarchy, and other despicable beliefs.”
More Americans have died at the hands of domestic terror than the international terror groups that federal law enforcement focuses so much attention on, Carlin said, pointing to such high-profile attacks as the racially motivated Charleston church shooting in June or the murder of two Las Vegas police officers by anti-government extremists last year.
Note Carlin didn’t mention, even in a general way, the numerous slayings of police officers inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, such as the murder of Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth in Houston. And while he, rightly so, cited the Charleston church shooting, he didn’t happen to bring up the recent Umpqua Community College shooting, which is still so fresh in everyone’s minds. Coincidence? Or could it be that these incidents — which featured blacks killing white police officers in one case, and white Christians being targeted in another — don’t fit the Obama administration’s narrative? Is Carlin tipping his hand to the administration’s bias against “white supremacist” and “anti-government” radicals — while looking the other way when a “black supremacist” commits a heinous crime, or the victims of such a crime are a low-priority group, such as Christians?
CNN explains the DOJ’s purported reason for establishing this new counsel for domestic terrorism:
While many similarities exist between domestic and international terror groups, such as recruitment and reach on social media, one difference lies in the way the Justice Department is able to prosecute them.
Groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda, who are inspired by religious extremism, are designated by our federal government as terror organizations, which makes it illegal to support or assist them. But no such statute exist to prosecute white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan or anti-government extremists, forcing federal law enforcement to find more concrete charges to lock them up.
“What causes some confusion is that ‘domestic terrorism’ is not an offense or a charge,” Carlin said. Therefore, domestic terror groups or actors must be prosecuted with firearms or explosives offenses, hate crimes or murder.
It is the hope of the Justice Department that the counsel will not only help to coordinate the prosecution of domestic terrorists, but also “to identify trends to help shape our strategy, and to analyze legal gaps or enhancements required to ensure we can combat these threats,” Carlin said.
The Justice Department identified white supremacists as the most violent of the domestic terror groups and Carlin raised concerns that the narrow focus the U.S. has on Islamic extremist terrorism can take the attention away from threats which warrant more resources.
Given that the Obama administration seems unable to even utter the words “Islamic extremist terrorism,” it’s hard to see how this has been any kind of focus drawing attention away from anything else. But the message here is clear: the Obama administration wants to extend its power to go after citizens it considers “extremists.”
As we’ve discussed here previously, the chilling part of this is the question of who defines what qualifies as “extreme?” As I pointed out above, we already see how officials pick and choose specific incidents to support their own narrative — and, yes, agenda.
To this point, liberal rag Salon reported on this new DOJ development with this headline: Paranoid rise of the militant right: Inside the growing threat of domestic extremism. Anyone want to hazard a guess on who they pictured? None other than Ted Cruz, one of the leading GOP candidates for president.
A startling quote from a Justice Department official this week, which went largely unnoticed should have added some perspective to a number of current political debates. It came from Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, who heads up the DOJ’s National Security Division.
“We recognize that, over the past few years, more people have died in this country in attacks by domestic extremists than in attacks associated with international terrorist groups.”
So, Salon is tying deaths of people at the hands of “domestic extremists” to current political discussion — namely, that coming from the GOP?
But since anti-government sentiment seems to be the number one concern at the moment (even surpassing the “lone wolf” domestic islamic terrorist threat), one wonders if the Republican candidates for president might want to think a little bit about their rhetoric on the stump.
Here’s Ted Cruz talking to an Iowa audience about the Democratic debate:
“It was more socialism, more pacifism, more weakness and less Constitution,” he told about 100 people crammed into a motel lobby in Kalona, a small town in southeastern Iowa. “It was a recipe to destroy a country.”
“We’re seeing our freedoms taken away every day and last night was an audition for who would wear the jackboot most vigorously. Last night was an audition for who would embrace government power for who would strip your and my individual liberties,” he said.
Cruz is one of those presidential candidates (along with Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee for sure; the exact position of several others is unclear) who claim the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to revolutionary violence against their own government if it engages in “tyranny” or doesn’t respect our rights…isn’t it possible, perhaps even likely, that at least a few of his supporters might think he’s signaling that the time is near to get out the shooting irons and start executing the Tyrant’s agents?
Hey, do you think maybe Salon should brush up on its U.S. history and the roots of our republic?
There is probably no way to know exactly how much influence these insurrectionist conservative leaders have on the extreme fringe. But at the very least this foul rhetoric does little to discourage the violent impulses of a group of people who are already unaccountably angry and are armed to the teeth.
Yes, as Salon points out, Americans are indeed angry — and for good reason. To suggest a candidate like Ted Cruz is inciting this is to distract from the real drivers of unrest in this country. Yes, Americans are angry about much of what the government has wrought this past seven years — the grim state of the economy, spiraling-out-of-control world affairs, increased government overreach, to name just a few highlights. Even putting those aside, how about what our Divider in Chief has done to foment division and potentially provide “cover” for individuals to commit hate crimes, such as those inspired by Black Lives Matter activists against police officers?
And who is this “extreme fringe” group that is “unaccountably angry” and “armed to the teeth”? Perhaps the folks at Salon should take a look at the recent poll that asked Americans their greatest fear. The top answer, cited by 58% of Americans, was government corruption. That sentiment appears to be playing out in full force in this election cycle, where the top three GOP contenders are considered “anti-establishment” by many. Sorry, but I don’t consider 58% of Americans some radical “fringe.”
When reporting on the DOJ’s new Domestic Terrorism Counsel, InfoWars noted that, historically, the Justice Dept. and the Department of Homeland Security characterized libertarians, conservatives and constitutionalists as militia-inspired “domestic extremists” and encouraged scrutiny of “Americans who oppose abortion, illegal immigration and the rapid growth of the government, all of which are views shared by a plurality of Donald Trump supporters.”
Yes, as we can see, “extreme” is in the eye of the beholder. And that is what makes the DOJ’s new Domestic Terrorism Counsel cause for concern.