FPI / August 12, 2021
By Christopher W Holton, Center for Security Policy
For well over a year now, the Biden Administration, Democratic politicians and the so-called mainstream media have bombarded Americans with the claim that the greatest terrorism threat comes from “white supremacists” and “right-wing” extremists. Yet these claims are short on facts and details and long on emotion and hyperbole.
The rhetoric continued last week when the Senate Homeland Security Committee held hearings on the domestic terror threat. Unfortunately, the hearings demonstrated a biased agenda when it comes to addressing the threat of terrorism in the United States.
Notably, the hearing was timed to coincide with the anniversary of an incident in El Paso, Texas on Aug. 3, 2019 in which dozens of people were killed by a lone gunmen, Patrick Crusius. The hearing emphasized Crusius’ anti-Hispanic and anti-immigration views but ignored other elements of his ideology such as his radical environmentalism. While obviously the El Paso attack was a horrible incident worthy of addressing, none of the senators had anything to say about another attack, which occurred merely one day later. On Aug. 4, 2019 known Antifa supporter Connor Betts, killed 9 people in a Dayton, Ohio bar.
Indeed, despite the Summer 2020 riots which led to thousands of injured police, including from IED and incendiary devices, the word Antifa was never mentioned in the Senate hearings. Nor was Black Lives Matter mentioned, despite that the movement has served as the motivation for multiple lethal attacks on police officers including the 2016 Dallas, Texas attack where BLM supporter Micah Johnson killed five police officers. Ranking member Sen. Rob Portman did raise the point that the majority of domestic threats appeared to be aimed at law enforcement and military personnel but did not make the connection to Antifa/BLM activity.
There were a couple of things which did make it into the hearings last week that revealed bias and outright dishonesty from several of the committee witnesses.
Among those testifying was Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization that formerly played a useful role in understanding domestic threats but, largely due to Greenblatt’s own ideology, the ADL has become increasingly biased and agenda-driven. In his prepared statement he lamented attacks on synagogues, mosques and “black” churches by right wing extremists. What he completely left out—no doubt not by accident—was an on-going wave of attacks and vandalism last July from left wing extremists targeting Catholic and Baptist churches in New York, Massachusetts, Florida, California and Missouri. No wonder 1,500 prominent Jewish rabbis recently came out to criticize the techniques and policies of the ADL.
Attacks on people of faith by leftists like Antifa have continued, with no condemnation by Democrats in Congress or organizations such as the ADL or Southern Poverty Law Center.
Also testifying was Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University. Levin attempted to link an alleged increase in hate crimes to President Trump’s policy to restrict immigration and refugee resettlement from countries of terrorism concern. Levin repeated the false meme that the policy was a “Muslim ban” despite the fact that numerous Muslim nations were not included in the policy.
Levin also blamed Trump for an increase in hate crimes against Asians, despite statistics that show that the demographic committing many of the hate crimes against Asians is from a sector with very low support for President Trump. Levin claimed to have statistics that indicated that hate crimes ‘peaked’ 6 days after the 2017 Charlottesville incident (the site of a vehicular homicide committed by a right-wing extremist) and assigned it to remarks made by the former president. Yet Trump never said what Levin accuses him of, and in fact publicly denounced white supremacist violence, as well as Antifa violence.
To sum up, if this is the quality of oversight the Senate is providing to America’s Homeland Security, we are in real trouble.
Our leaders are ignoring real and growing terror threats in order to push politicized narratives. An approach which considers all significant threats is desperately needed, but we are unlikely to get one without political leadership.
Christopher Holton is Senior Analyst and Director of State Outreach at the Center for Security Policy.
FPI, Free Press International