Former Attorney General Eric Holder called the murder of nine people during bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17 “clearly an act of terrorism”, according to Ryan J. Reilly at the Huffington Post.
Holder told Huff Po that the act “should serve as a ‘wake-up call’ to the American public about the domestic terror threat.”
“We have a young man who apparently becomes radicalized as the result of an incident and becomes more radicalized as a result of what he sees on the Internet, through the use of his computer, then goes and does something, that by his own words apparently is a political/violent act,” the former AG said. “With a different set of circumstances, and if you had dialed in religion there, Islam, that would be called an act of terror. It seems to me that, again on the basis of the information that has been released, that’s what we have here. An act of terror.”
“I think as a nation, we as a people have not focused on the domestic threat. We have thought that the threat is from without, and that the threat to the extent that it exists within the nation is only based on ideologies that come from outside of the United States.”
The Homeland Security Newswire has written about how conservatives killed a report commissioned by the Bush administration that warned of a rise in right-wing domestic terrorism:
In April 2009 DHS secretary Janet Napolitano released a report (see the report here) identifying right-wing extremists as posing a terror threat to the United States. The 2009 DHS report was based on three FBI reports on the subject — from 2004, 2006, and 2007 — written under the guidance and supervision of the George W. Bush administration’s Justice Department (the term “right-wing” was used by the FBI in these reports), but as Reuters reports (also see this Los Angeles Timesreport and this Salonstory), the 2009 report was met with criticism from conservative commentators and lawmakers, who said DHS was playing politics.
What is clear from the FBI surveillance and analysis of extremist groups in the United States, surveillance which intensified after 9/11, is that the U.S. government has considered neo-Nazi and white supremacists as genuine threats for many years. FBI documents declassified in July in response to Freedom of Information Act (fFOIA) requests by the National Security Archives (NSA), reveal that the bureau has considered these groups as threats for decades — so long in fact, that it has been lost on many that white supremacists, in the form of the Ku Klux Klan, pioneered modern homegrown terrorism.
The report that our nation allowed to be buried to appease the whines of the right wing could have prepared lawmakers to identify threats of domestic terrorism.
A recent report determined that nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, anti-government fanatics and other ‘non-Muslim’ extremists than by radical Muslims:
The new report from New America, released a little over a week after a Confederate extremist gunned down nine people in Charleston, finds that since the September 11, 2001, “nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, anti-government fanatics and other ‘non-Muslim’ extremists than by radical Muslims.”
Instead of allowing fact to dictate policy, we chose to pretend it was rude to discuss reality. A costly and stupid choice that put Americans at risk, including law enforcement personnel.
Facts are not political.