Homeland Security cherry-picks anti-Trump acts as ‘domestic terrorist violence’
Is anyone surprised? Anyone? Bueller?
IN THE VIEW of the Department of Homeland Security’s intelligence wing, anger over the election of Donald Trump, reflected in protests across the country, is a driving force in “domestic terrorist violence,” according to an unclassified report obtained by The Intercept.
The conclusions, laid out in a February 21 report prepared by the North Carolina Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAAC) and DHS’s Office of Intelligence & Analysis (I&A), come amid a series of controversial post-election efforts by Republican lawmakers to criminalize protest.
Focused on North Carolina, the six-page document “was written in response to a spike in violence and criminal acts — including an arson attack — targeting political party offices and staff that occurred prior to of and immediately following the election” and sets out to provide “an overall threat forecast for the first half of 2017 concerning like activities in the state.”
“In the lead up to and immediately following the 2016 election, North Carolina experienced incidents that included the targeting of political campaign offices and government organizations,” the report notes, which, “highlight their attractiveness as targets for domestic terrorists and various cyber actors seeking to advance political aims and/or influence government operations.”
Based largely on open source reporting and law enforcement assessments, the report focuses on a handful of incidents in late October in which GOP offices were targeted with “low level physical violence,” including with BB guns and, in the most serious incident, Molotov cocktails. Though property was damaged in the latter incident, nobody was injured. The report notes that the words “Nazi Republicans leave town or else,” were spray painted on a building adjacent to the burned GOP office — the report does not mention the “Black Lives Don’t Matter and Neither Does Your Votes” graffiti that appeared on a wall in Durham, North Carolina weeks later, however, nor the Democratic office in Carrboro, North Carolina that was tagged with the words “Death to Capitalism.”
A former undercover FBI agent who infiltrated violent domestic organizations, German said the report failed on numerous fronts to achieve its intended purpose of providing information that could help law enforcement stop or solve crimes.
“It claims to provide ‘situational awareness’ but what information does it actually provide about the situation?” German explained in an email to The Intercept. “It doesn’t purport to quantify the number or type of attacks that made up the supposed ‘spike’ in election-related incidents, and it doesn’t qualitatively describe them either. It isn’t clear whether the examples summarized are the only cases, or the most serious cases, or just a handful of cases the analyst chose at random to summarize for this report.”
What’s more, German pointed out, “That election-related violence might go down after the election is over is tautological.”
Since Trump’s election, Republican lawmakers in at least in at least 18 states have introduced bills aimed at cracking down on protests. Decried by civil liberties advocates as the criminalization of dissent, the recent legislation has included efforts to provide legal protections to drivers who hit protesters with their cars and proposals to use racketeering laws in order to seize the property of any individual who attends a peaceful protest that turns violent.