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Sunday, September 03, 2017

Federal government has long ignored white supremacist threats, critics say - The Washington Post



"On June 3, 2014, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. restarted a long-dormant domestic terrorism task force created after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. A former Ku Klux Klan leader had just murdered three people near a Jewish Community Center in a Kansas City suburb and yelled “Heil Hitler” as police took him into custody.

For too long, Holder said, the federal government had narrowly focused on Islamist threats and had lost sight of the “continued danger we face” from violent far-right extremists.

But three years later, it is unclear what, if anything the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee has done, despite expectations that its reanimation would better focus efforts throughout the Justice Department to disrupt and detect plots in a more centralized way, as was already being done by the department and FBI when it came to hunting Islamist terrorists.

As President Trump continues to suffer political backlash for his response to the deadly Charlottesville protests led by white supremacists, analysts who follow far-right groups say generations of neglect by multiple administrations has allowed them to proliferate and strengthen.

“The federal government has taken their eye off the ball, and it has allowed the far right to fester and grow for decades,” said Heidi Beirich, who leads the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project and runs its Hatewatch blog. “They are a real threat that has been underestimated.”

Federal government has long ignored white supremacist threats, critics say - The Washington Post

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