“This National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism lays out a comprehensive approach to addressing the threat while safeguarding bedrock American civil rights and civil liberties – values that make us who we are as a nation,” explains an introduction attributed to Joe Biden in the document, released last month by the National Security Council. This strategy, readers learn “is narrowly tailored to focus specifically on addressing violence and the factors that lead to violence.” As it happens, this “narrowly tailored” approach is nothing new.
The strategy reflects the fundamental transformation by the composite character president David Garrow described in Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. He changed the focus from radical Islamic terrorism to “right-wing” domestic terrorism, and imposed that strategy in the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
In April of 2009, DHS released Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment. These rightwing extremists, the document claims, are “mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority.” The “possible passage of new restrictions on firearms” also disturbs them.
“We are on the lookout for criminal and terrorist activity,” proclaimed DHS boss Janet Napolitano, “ but we do not – nor will we ever – monitor ideology or political beliefs. We take seriously our responsibility to protect the civil rights and liberties of the American people, including subjecting our activities to rigorous oversight from numerous internal and external sources.” According to critics, Napolitano’s DHS was targeting most conservatives and libertarians in the country.
Some six months later, on November 5, 2009, American-born Muslim Nidal Hasan, a self-described “soldier of Allah,” murdered 13 American soldiers and wounded more than 30 at Fort Hood, Texas. The composite character president called it “workplace violence,” not domestic terrorism or even gun violence. Hasan’s victims included blacks and Hispanics, but the administration did not call it a hate crime motivated by racism.
The FBI was monitoring Hasan’s communications with al Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki but dropped the case and did nothing to stop the mass murder. Major Hasan didn’t fit the “right-wing” profile, which kept appearing in DHS documents such as “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1979-2008.” This 2012 study classified as “extreme right-wing terrorists” persons judged to be “suspicious of centralized federal authority” and “reverent of individual liberty.”
Consider also Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right, from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. This 2013 study warns about the “anti-federalist movement,” whose members “espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights.” They also support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self-government, so these potential terrorists sound a lot like millions of mainstream Americans. The National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism takes this genre to new depths.
Readers learn of “the surge in anti–Semitism” but find no detail on the perpetrators, such as Rep. Ilhan Omar, on record that on 9/11 “some people did something.” The National Security Council document derides notions of racial “purity” and “cleansing” but fails to mention the anti-Semitic ravings of Louis Farrakhan, and the Nation of Islam’s belief that people who look like Thomas Edison and Marie Curie are the result of an experiment by the mad scientist Yacub some 6,000 years ago.
The 1921 race riot in Tulsa and 1995 Oklahoma City bombing both get attention, but not Nidal Hasan’s domestic terrorist mass murder in 2009. In 2016, readers learn, “an anti–authority violent extremist ambushed, shot, and killed five police officers in Dallas.” The national strategy document does not identify the killer, Micah Johnson, a black racist who hated cops.
“In 2017, a lone gunman wounded four people at a congressional baseball practice.” Readers are not told this was James Hodgkinson, a Bernie Sanders supporter who hated Republicans and targeted them for assassination. From the unnamed “lone gunman,” the National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism leaps straight to the current year.
“And just months ago, on January 6, 2021, Americans witnessed an unprecedented attack against a core institution of our democracy: the U.S. Congress.” The authors don’t reveal that in 1983, a far-left female-led domestic terrorist group bombed the U.S. Capitol to retaliate against U.S. military involvement in Grenada and Lebanon. The key perpetrator, Susan Rosenberg, on the FBI’s most wanted list for other crimes, was sentenced to 58 years in prison but on his last day in office President Bill Clinton commuted her sentence. Rosenberg is now a supporter of Black Lives Matter.
On January 6, 2021, none of the trespassers was armed and the only death by gunfire was Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran gunned down by a Capitol police officer Democrats decline to name. The National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism fails to mention Babbitt, but in other ways it is revealing.
Like Rightwing Extremism, Hotspots of Terrorism and Challengers from the Sidelines, the NSC strategy is narrowly tailored to target ordinary Americans. With an open border, and the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, a surge of radical Islamic terrorism would come as no surprise.