Home / US / The White House rejected attempts by the DHS to make combating domestic terrorism a higher priority

The White House rejected attempts by the DHS to make combating domestic terrorism a higher priority



"Homeland security officials fought the White House for more than a year to make them focus more on domestic terrorism," a senior source close to the Trump Administration told CNN. "The White House wanted to focus only on the jihadist threat, which, while seriously ignoring the fact that the racist violence of the Supremacists was rapidly increasing at home, had great ideological blinders."

The National Counter-Terrorism Strategy issued last autumn states that "radical Islamist terrorists remain the main cross-border terrorist threat to the United States and their important national interests," which few experts dispute. What strikes these officials as blatant is the minimization of the threat of domestic terrorism, which they consider to be a growing problem.

"Ultimately, the White House has just added a paragraph on domestic terrorism as a disposable item," said a high-level source involved in the discussion with CNN. This paragraph mentions "other forms of violent extremism such as racial extremism, animal rights extremism, environmental extremism, sovereign bourgeois extremism and militant extremism". White supremacists were not mentioned. (A separate section of the report mentions the investigation of domestic terrorists linked to overseas terrorists, but this does not seem to suggest white supremacists.)

The document mentions that domestic terrorism is on the rise however, only this is all the worse as FBI director Christopher Wray reported in July on nearly as many domestic terrorist attacks in the first three quarters of the fiscal year ̵

1; about 100 – when there were arrests in connection with international terror. Wray noted that the majority of cases of domestic terrorism were motivated by a version of white supremacist violence, adding that the FBI took the threat "extremely seriously".

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A recent high-ranking Trump administration official said, "The DHS is increasing resources for the [domestic terrorism] issue, but they're behind the curve because the White House does not support them Some legislative and financial resources are in the works, but in reality there will be no budget for FY20 for the department, so they need to take care of it. "

In March this year, President Donald Trump declared, immediately after the assassination of 51 Muslims in New Zealand through a white supremacist that he does not consider white nationalism to be a growing threat around the world. "Not really," he said. "I think it's a small group of people who have very, very serious problems."

A former high-ranking government official said he "raised some hope and comfort in the National Counter-Terrorism Strategy that domestic terrorism was even mentioned" because it meant the agencies could use him as a hook to stop the threat Prioritize funding and labor.

A high-ranking administrative official defended the final analysis.

"The national strategy of this anti-terrorism administration for the first time included domestic terrorism," the official said. "This issue remains a priority for this government, and the National Security Council has launched an interinstitutional process focused on countering domestic terrorism in support of the President's counter-terrorism strategy."

Why the White House has pushed back so much is a matter of some debate. The former high-ranking government official noted that the White House, and in particular the president, had a problem criticizing the white supremacy and said he had "not expected them to be behind it" – the brief mention of domestic terrorism as a threat to the EU National Counter-Terrorism Strategy – "because the preponderance of white supremacy exists and this government does not oppose it, until the President recently and even that has fairly secured."

Former senior government official noted Monday's remarks after the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio were read by a teleprompter. "You do not hear how the president mentions white supremacists when he talks unprepared."

The high-ranking source near the Trump Administration acknowledged that the President's reluctance to criticize White Supremacists was part of an "overlay" of all these discussions.

"You know this will trigger the boss," the source said. "Instinctively, you know he'll refuse to mention that."

But the official said, "especially the people with their pencil on the document" are motivated by something else. "The last government was too cautious politically to signal the threat of Islamist terrorism," the official said. "But that does not mean that we have to overcorrect and ignore what has been a growing domestic threat."

The sources tell CNN that the one paragraph on domestic terrorism was the best that Homeland Security officials could get. The DHS pursued an "All Forms of Terror" approach and "restructured structured offices and experts to be ideologically agnostic, but focused on the threat wherever it changed," said the high-level source involved in the discussions. "When it became clear that the White House would say little or nothing about domestic terrorism, we asked them to say, at least in the counter-terrorism strategy, that there would be a subsequent strategy for domestic terrorism."

But the White House would not agree, sources CNN say.

During the long back and forth, the senior source told CNN that a White House official had proposed that the National Counter-Terrorism Strategy focus on radical Islamists and foreign drug traffickers, as the President would like to do so.

"But these things do not match," the source recalled. "That was part of the distorted worldview they had there."


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