The Department of Homeland Security’s first annual homeland threat assessment calls White supremacist groups the deadliest domestic terror threat to the United States.
According to the report, since 2018, white supremacists have conducted more deadly attacks than any other extremist movement in the U.S., targeting racial and religious minorities, the LGBTQ community, politicians, and those who preach multiculturalism and globalization.
“As Secretary, I am concerned about any form of violent extremism,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf wrote, according to CNN. “However, I am particularly concerned about white supremacists violent extremists who have been exceptionally lethal in their abhorrent, targeted attacks in recent years.”
Last week, President Trump refused to condemn white supremacy at the first 2020 presidential debate and even told the Proud Boys, a racist all-male organization, to “stand back and stand by.”
White supremacists remain a concern for voters in the upcoming election. A recent CNN poll showed 64% of respondents believe Trump has not done enough to condemn White supremacists. When counting just people of color in the poll, that number rises to 76%.
The assessment was released less than a month before Election Day and was the subject of a whistleblower complaint alleging political influence at the agency. The whistleblower, Brian Murphy, who previously ran the department’s intelligence division, said top political appointees instructed career DHS officials to change intelligence assessments in order to downplay Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2020 election and the threat posed by white supremacist organizations.
Murphy said he was instructed to modify portions of the assessment on white supremacy in a “manner that made the threat appear less severe, as well as include information on the prominence of violent ‘left-wing’ groups.” Murphy has since been reassigned.
Wolf denied the allegations that the department is being soft on threats but only commented on Russia’s efforts, ignoring anything in the report on white supremacy.
“I think if you look at the document, Russia is mentioned somewhere in the document between 30 and 40 different times, so if we were trying to downplay Russia, we didn’t do a very good job,” he told CBS News, which first published the assessment Tuesday.