The gunman in the shooting at a Sikh temple over the weekend has been labeled a potential domestic terrorist — defined as one who incites politically-motivated violence against his or her own country. In Wade Michael Page’s case, that political motivation was likely white supremacy, a growing problem in the United States.One Democrat's "terrorist" is a Republican's "freedom fighter."
But when, in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security reported that white supremacy is the US’s biggest threat for domestic terror, it was met with harsh criticism. Conservatives blasted the department for defining terror threats too broadly, instead of focusing on potential Islamic terrorists. Then-House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) was one of those who berated DHS, saying that they weren’t focusing on the real threats the US faces.
What's even worse, I reported last year that Homeland Security gutted the department looking into domestic terror, particularly white supremacists, after the Republicans complained:
Daryl Johnson, who headed the DHS unit responsible for analyzing security threats from non-Islamic domestic extremists, was the principal author of the April 7, 2009, report "Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."
Not unlike how George W. Bush gutted the CIA office in charge of hunting down bin Laden so that Bush could instead those resources to force an invasion of Iraq (note: It took a Democrat to finally have the balls to actually catch America's biggest mass murderer, the Republicans simply weren't interested - remember, the GOP talks tough about national security and love of country, but they don't really care about either when it comes to actually doing something about it).
Johnson, who was interviewed for the upcoming summer issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, said that following the controversy, the DHS dismantled the intelligence team that studied the threat from right-wing extremists and that the department no longer produces its own analytical reports on that subject. When the 2009 report was written, there were six analysts in the unit, including Johnson. Today, he said, there is one.
"DHS stopped all of our work and instituted restrictive policies," said Johnson, who has since left the department. "Eventually, they ended up gutting my unit. All of this happened within six to nine months after the furor over the report. Since our report was leaked, DHS has not released a single report of its own on this topic. Not anything dealing with non-Islamic domestic extremism – whether it’s anti-abortion extremists, white supremacists, 'sovereign citizens,' eco-terrorists, the whole gamut."
The Republican party, with the help of religious extremists and gun nuts who now control the GOP, stopped Homeland Security from investigating the domestic terror threat. And now people are dead, again.
So, we let the Republicans, the religious right and the gun nuts yet have their way, and they proved themselves yet again incapable of stopping nutjobs from getting access to guns and killing innocent Americans. How long do we have to keep doing this the GOP/NRA way before people simply admit that the Republicans and the NRA have failed to keep America safe?
And what's Mitt Romney, who just held a fundraiser three days ago with the head of the NRA, have to say about all of this?