The greatest threat of large-scale attacks come from individuals and small groups of extremists who subscribe to radical Islamic or far right-wing ideologies, said Gary LaFree, director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, or START. [...]
Ackerman said nationally, law enforcement has been focused since the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001 on the threat of Islamic terrorism, even as the threat from domestic anti-government groups has been growing.
“Some people believe we have taken our eye off the ball when it comes to domestic right-wing extremists,” he said.
Sadly, the Department of Homeland Security reportedly isn’t taking these threats too seriously. Daryl Johnson, a former senior Department of Homeland Security domestic terror analyst, told the Southern Poverty Law Center last month that “there is just one person” at DHS who is focused on these issues. Why? Shortly after President Obama took office, DHS produced a report warning of the rise of right-wing extremism in the United States and that domestic extremists were looking to recruit Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
However, the report was leaked and right-wing media figures and Republicans in Congress were outraged. “The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired,” Newt Gingrich said at the time. Michelle Malkin called it a “DHS hit job on conservatives.” Bowing to the right-wing hysteria, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano eventually ordered the report withdrawn.
Johnson, who describes himself a Republican, said that after the controversy, DHS gutted his unit:
When the right-wing report was leaked and people politicized it, my management got scared and thought DHS would be scaled back. It created an environment where my analysts and I couldn’t get our work done. DHS stopped all of our work and instituted restrictive policies. Eventually, they ended up gutting my unit. [...] 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.
“Sad to say, we were right on this one. History has shown that,” Johnson said, referring to the murder of abortion provider George Tiller and neo-Nazi James von Brunn who killed a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Johnson said the militia movement has “exploded” over the last two years. “A Norway incident could definitely happen here; the same things that played into the Norway suspect’s mindset are here in this country,” he said.