SPLC: Obama administration gutted DHS office tracking non-Islamic domestic terror, following GOP criticism
The Southern Poverty Law Center this week urged the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reassess the resources it devotes to investigating non-Islamic domestic extremism. The request came as the SPLC published an interview with a former top DHS analyst who charged that the department effectively dismantled the unit he once headed following the political right’s unjustified criticism of a 2009 report on right-wing terrorism.
“The department’s work should never be compromised by misguided criticism from any quarter,” SPLC President Richard Cohen wrote in a letter sent this week to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.
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.”
Even white supremacists? Disturbing. And it fits an administration pattern of not fighting back against GOP attacks, but rather, acceding to them. This is why Joe, Chris, Gaius and I are so insistent on pointing out when the Obama administration caves on an issue, and why we just won’t let it go. Whether it’s on the stimulus, on health care reform, the Bush tax cuts or domestic terrorism, a pattern has developed, and it’s a good indicator of future action. And it needs to stop.
Here’s what we wrote at the time about that domestic terror report.