ANALYSIS – It isn’t news that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proven to be vulnerable to political pressure. Just look at the threat assessments produced in 2020 that single out ‘white supremacists’ as the ‘most lethal domestic terror threat’ in the U.S., despite their numbers being minuscule.
According to that report, self-described ‘white supremacists’ were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks spread across more than a decade and a half – from 2000 to 2016.
Yes, that’s more murders than any other specific domestic extremist group but let’s get real.
There are more murders in Chicago in one weekend than the entire number of white supremacist killings nationwide in those sixteen years.
This DHS report, though produced under the last year of Trump’s term, like many others recently by different federal agencies, like the FBI, is part of a wider political campaign that conflates the relatively small number of white supremacists, and other so-called right-wing extremists, with the tens of millions of mainstream conservatives and Trump supporters.
And we can now add traditional Catholics to the feds’ “most wanted” list.
The FBI recently produced a memo by its Richmond, Virginia, Field Office that was leaked on Jan. 23, 2023.
That memo, according to a group of 20 GOP state attorney generals, “identifies ‘radical-traditionalist Catholic[s]’ as potential ‘racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.’”
In their letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Fox News reported, the AGs told the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) to “desist from investigating and surveilling Americans who have done nothing more than exercise their natural and constitutional right to practice their religion in a manner of their choosing.”
The AGS also asked that the DOJ and the FBI “reveal to the American public the extent to which they have engaged in such activities.”
The AGs letter notes that the FBI memorandum deploys “alarmingly detailed theological distinctions to distinguish between the Catholics whom the FBI deems acceptable, and those it does not.”
It’s in this context of politicized and weaponized federal law enforcement agencies, that this latest report of DHS malfeasance deserves special attention.
Specifically, we are talking about the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA), whose leadership, according to Politico, was called “shady” and run “like a corrupt government.”
For years it has been operating a secretive domestic-intelligence gathering program that many DHS employees have complained may be illegal.
The OIA’s Overt Human Intelligence Collection Program allows DHS officials to bypass lawyers and seek intelligence interviews with individuals being held in local jails, federal prisons, and immigrant detention centers.
While most law-abiding U.S. citizens may not care much about this DHS target group, remember this is just another example of how elements of DHS appear corrupt, and play fast and loose with the law, and all our civil liberties.
But the Department’s politicization is probably the biggest danger according to documents obtained by Politico.
As the New York Post reports:
The ability of DHS to be impartial and withstand caving to political pressure was also a major concern, documents show.
An internal analysis during the Trump administration found a “significant number of respondents cited concerns with politicization of analytic products and/or the perceptions of undue influence that may compromise the integrity of the work performed by employees. This concern touches on analytic topics, the review process, and the appropriate safeguards in place to protect against undue influence.”
The document adds that “a number of respondents expressed concerns/challenges with the quality and effectiveness of I&A senior leadership” such as the “inability to resist political pressure.”
“The workforce has a general mistrust of leadership resulting from orders to conduct activities they perceive to be inappropriate, bureaucratic, or political,” the document continues.
It is clearly time to rein in rogue elements at DHS and FBI, but also to clean house at the top levels of both organizations, and DOJ.
Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of Great America News Desk.