The Department of Homeland Security may be about to label “white supremacists” as the most serious terror threat facing the United States.
In three draft reports reviewed by Politico, DHS says the threat posed by white supremacists is more significant than the immediate danger from foreign terrorists.
“Foreign terrorist organizations will continue to call for Homeland attacks but probably will remain constrained in their ability to direct such plots over the next year,” all three documents say.
Russia “probably will be the primary covert foreign influence actor and purveyor of disinformation and misinformation in the Homeland,” the documents add.
DHS did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.
Kevin McAleenan, the former DHS acting secretary, ordered the agency last year to start crafting annual homeland threat assessments. The three draft documents use varying language to describe the threat posed by white supremacists, but all of them say they pose the most significant threat, according to Politico.
“Lone offenders and small cells of individuals motivated by a diverse array of social, ideological, and personal factors will pose the primary terrorist threat to the United States,” the earliest draft reads. “Among these groups, we assess that white supremacist extremists – who increasingly are networking with likeminded persons abroad – will pose the most persistent and lethal threat.
“We judge that ideologically-motivated lone offenders and small groups will pose the greatest terrorist threat to the Homeland through 2021, with white supremacist extremists presenting the most lethal threat,” it adds.
The next two drafts reportedly allude to “Domestic Violent Extremists” instead of “white supremacist extremists” as “the most persistent and lethal threat,” though all three read, “Among DVEs [Domestic Violent Extremists], we judge that white supremacist extremists (WSEs) will remain the most persistent and lethal threat in the Homeland through 2021.”
None of the drafts refer to Antifa, the loose association of anti-fascist groups that President Trump and Republicans have described as dangerous anarchists and terrorists, though two drafts discuss groups who want to exploit the “social grievances” driving lawful protests.