AddictingInfo, JUNE 18, 2015 4:41 PM
After a mass shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, left nine people dead and a right-wing white supremacist arrested, the country once again faces the uneasy question of just how many so-called “home-grown” terrorists are out there – heavily armed, ideologically driven, and violent.
It’s a good question, but it may be tough to answer because for reasons that are astoundingly dimwitted, the Department of Homeland Security pushed out the guy who was in charge of watching them, and dismantled his team all the way back in 2009.
The beleaguered hero of this story is Daryl Johnson, a top government counterterrorism analyst working at Homeland Security who spent six years with the agency amassing a wealth of data on far-right extremist groups that posed various degrees of threat to citizens in the United States. In 2009, in the months after President Obama assumed office, he watched as these groups veered even further right, and began to fear that America’s first African-American president could be the catalyst of a major uptick in hate crimes and anti-government attacks.
In a landmark report released just months into Obama’s term, and now looks downright clairvoyant, Johnson made the case that radical Islam is only a small piece of the terrorism pie:
“Do not overlook other types of terrorist groups,” the report warned, noting that five purely domestic groups had considered using weapons of mass destruction in that period. Similar warnings have been issued by the two principal non-government groups that track domestic terrorism: the New York-based Anti-Defamation League and the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center.
An annual tally by the latter group of what it calls “Terror From the Right” listed 13 major incidents and arrests last year, nearly double the annual number in previous years; the group also reported the number of hate groups had topped 1,000 in 2010, for the first time in at least two decades.
In response to that report, Johnson was destroyed. It wasn’t his integrity or claims that got him in trouble, his facts were solid. Instead, it was the inconvenient truth that much of the threat comes from right-wing conservatives, and even more awkwardly, radical right-wing conservatives who say and think a lot of the same things mainstream right-wing conservatives say and think.