Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism Is On The Rise. Did The Warning Signs Evade Us?

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Joseph Oakman, a member of the Proud Boys, wears body armor during an "End Domestic Terrorism" rally in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (Noah Berger/AP Photo)
Joseph Oakman, a member of the Proud Boys, wears body armor during an "End Domestic Terrorism" rally in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (Noah Berger/AP Photo)

In 2009, a DHS report predicted that the recession coupled with the nation’s first Black president could give rise to a surge in right-wing domestic terrorism. Political backlash ensued, and the intelligence unit disbanded. Now, over a decade later, the report’s author is still ringing alarm bells. We share his story.


Daryl Johnson, former senior domestic terrorism analyst at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Owner of DT Analytics, a consulting firm for law enforcement that analyzes domestic terrorist activity. Author of "Hateland: A Long, Hard Look at America’s Extremist Heart" and "Right-Wing Resurgence: How a Domestic Terrorist Threat is Being Ignored." (@DTAnalytics)

Det. Sgt. Heather Taylor, president of the Ethical Society of Police, which represents many black officers in the St. Louis region. Night watch Homicide Sergeant with the St. Louis Metro Police Department. (@HthrTylr)

Rep. Norma TorresDemocratic Representative for California's 35th congressional district. Last month, she and 27 lawmakers requested that the Department of Justice release the full contents of a 2006 FBI report titled “White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement." (@NormaJTorres)

From The Reading List

Excerpt from the 2009 Department of Homeland Security report on the resurgence of right-wing extremist activity in the U.S., authored by Daryl Johnson.

The Washington Post: "I warned of right-wing violence in 2009. Republicans objected. I was right." — "Eight years ago, I warned of a singular threat — the resurgence of right-wing extremist activity and associated violence in the United States as a result of the 2008 presidential election, the financial crisis and the stock market crash. My intelligence report, meant only for law enforcement, was leaked by conservative media."

The Las Vegas Sun: "Right-wing extremist violence is a scourge in Las Vegas and across the nation" — "Never forget this: Radical right-wing extremists tried to attack Las Vegas and kill our citizens this week. Consistently and indiscriminately, the violent right wing targets our city. Targets you. And your children. And your friends. All of us. The violent right wing is the enemy of Las Vegas."

The Intercept: "The FBI Has Quietly Investigated White Supremacist Infiltration Of Law Enforcement" — "White supremacists and other domestic extremists maintain an active presence in U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies. A striking reference to that conclusion, notable for its confidence and the policy prescriptions that accompany it, appears in a classified FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide from April 2015, obtained by The Intercept. The guide, which details the process by which the FBI enters individuals on a terrorism watchlist, the Known or Suspected Terrorist File, notes that “domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers,” and explains in some detail how bureau policies have been crafted to take this infiltration into account."

Salon: "He sounded the alarm on 'Hateland': Daryl Johnson warned us about right-wing terror in 2009" — "Over the past two weeks, 25 people were killed in a series of attacks by apparent white supremacists in El Paso, Texas, and Gilroy, California. These events are part of a global "race war," in which white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other members of the New Right have killed hundreds of people around the world since 2011. On Sunday, in what appears to be another white supremacist terror attack, a 21-year-old white man opened fire on a mosque in Norway. A 75-year-old man who is a member of the mosque's congregation tackled the alleged terrorist to the ground and then subdued and disarmed him."

This article was originally published on July 21, 2020.

This program aired on July 21, 2020.


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