To authorize dedicated domestic terrorism offices within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to analyze and monitor domestic terrorist activity and require the Federal Government to take steps to prevent domestic terrorism.
That’s the text of a bill introduced in Congress on February 2nd called the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2018.
The FBI defines domestic terrorism as “U.S.-based movements that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.”
But what is an extremist ideology? It’s easy to see on one end of the spectrum, once violence happens. But the FBI sees the progression as “crossing the line from First Amendment protected rights to committing crimes to further their political agenda.”
It sounds like they are saying speaking out is a precursor to terrorism. Exercising rights is suspicious.
The bill makes repeated reference to “patriot” groups as well as “anti-government militias.”
The problem is that one government agency already targeted innocent people based on their affiliation to the word “patriot.” The IRS targeted Tea Party Patriots for scrutiny and intimidation by asking intrusive questions far out of the purview of tax collectors.
“Anti-government militias” and white supremacists should absolutely not be under the same label. They have entirely different motivations. The militias are defensive, seeking to protect themselves from government abuse. History has proven the need for a robust check on government military and policing power.
In fact without militia-like entities, Cliven Bundy and his family may be in prison or dead right now.
Yet Bundy was recently cleared after extensive corruption of the FBI and Bureau of Land Management was revealed in their attempts to prosecute Cliven Bundy. We know these agencies are politically motivated. We know they often have ulterior motives for targeting people.
So-called “anti-government militias” seem like a better way to keep people safe than new powers for the Department of Homeland Security.
In 1993 alone the government killed 77 people in one incident during the Waco siege! Without Bundy’s “militia” they may have done the same to him and his family.
The bill cites these two extremist caricatures. But they apply these monikers to much broader segments of the population than they actually encompass.
For example, a protest–protected free speech–may quickly be labeled an Antifa riot or a white supremacist rally because of the affiliation of 1% of the protesters.
These relatively tiny groups are being magnified by the media.
The actual threat of domestic terrorism is greatly exaggerated. Federal law enforcement already engages in entrapment tactics, which would likely expand under the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act. The government’s propensity towards violence is actually a larger threat to Americans than domestic terrorism. Their targetting blurs the lines between peaceful activists/ concerned citizens and Antifa/ white supremacists.