New York, NY, April 2, 2019 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today expressed deep concern over reports that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has eliminated a unit of intelligence analysts tasked with tracking and combating domestic terrorism.
According to one DHS official quoted by The Daily Beast, since this move last year by DHS to disband the group of intelligence analysts in the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the number of analytic reports produced by the department about domestic terrorism, including the threat posed by right-wing extremists, has dropped significantly. The office had provided information and threat assessments to local law enforcement.
“This move defies logic,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director. “The current administration has been chipping away at our nation’s ability to address a deadly serious national security threat: right-wing extremism. To simply disregard this threat, especially after what we witnessed in Pittsburgh, Charlottesville, Charleston, and even overseas in Christchurch, New Zealand, could put lives at risk.”
In 2018 alone, domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in the U.S., the fourth deadliest year on record for domestic extremist-related killings since 1970. The overwhelming majority of those murders were committed by right-wing extremists. According to ADL’s Center on Extremism, over the last ten years (2009-2018), right-wing extremists have been responsible for 73.3 percent of the 427 extremist-related murders in the U.S. By contrast, Islamic extremists were responsible for 23.4 percent.
In light of the de-emphasis on violent extremism and homegrown terrorism at DHS, ADL today calls on members of Congress to broaden authorities and resources related to domestic terrorism and provide adequate oversight of the DHS and related decisions. ADL renews its call for support of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2019, introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL). This legislation would authorize domestic terrorism offices and units in DHS, DOJ and the FBI, require federal law enforcement agencies to regularly assess the threat of right-wing extremism, and provide training and resources to assist state and local law enforcement working to reduce these threats. The bill would also require joint annual reports to respective committees in the House and Senate, assessing the domestic terrorism threat posed by white supremacists.
“While the fight against Islamist terrorism is important, we cannot fight one form of terrorism while ignoring the real and present danger of right-wing extremism,” said Greenblatt. “We are in a climate where white supremacists are emboldened like never before.”