Saturday, February 25, 2012

Home Grown Terrorists

The FBI has been in the news a lot this past year for its efforts in quashing the plans of would-be terrorists here in the US. Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times had a a front-page article on one such successful arrest, but the suspect this time didn't actually fit the profile of those busted recently. This time the alleged perpetrator was a white conservative American with ties to a right-wing group.

But it wasn't Rice's alleged offense alone that prompted the FBI's interest.

According to court papers, Rice was involved in the "sovereign citizen" movement, a group that has attracted little national media attention but which the FBI classifies as an "extremist antigovernment group." So-called sovereign citizens argue that they are not subject to local, state or federal laws, and some refuse to recognize the authority of courts or police.

Since 2000, members of the movement have killed six police officers, and clashes with law enforcement are on the rise, according to the FBI. The deadliest incident came in 2010, when a shootout with a member left four people dead, including two police officers, during what began as a routine traffic stop in West Memphis, Ark. ...

In two recent unpublished studies, the Homeland Security Department and the National Counterterrorism Center ranked the sovereign citizen movement as a major threat, along with Islamic extremists and white supremacists. The FBI assigned a supervisor to coordinate investigations of the movement last year. ...

Until recently, federal officials had steered clear of any extensive focus on right-wing extremist groups. In 2009, some members of Congress complained after a Homeland Security Department report warned that such groups might seek to recruit disaffected military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as others. The report highlighted several groups, including the sovereign citizen movement.

Bowing to the criticism, Homeland Security officials gutted the office that had focused on right-wing extremism. They also canceled planned presentations and shelved a reference guide that the office had produced to inform local police about the movement.
[Emphasis added]

Lives were lost because some Republicans were unhappy that some of their fringies were targeted and because the DHS caved into those complaints. Nice, eh?

I guess the GOP prefers that we only go after brown-skinned jihadis, those with unAmerican names.

For more information on the sovereign citizens movement, see the report prepared by the Southern Poverty Law Center.



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