After dozens of attacks on schools, houses of worship, workplaces, festivals and shopping spaces, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is finally taking a serious look at White people who engage in domestic terrorism, the agency said in a report released on Friday (on September 20). This is the first time in the agency’s 18-year history—it was formed after 9/11—that it has officially named White supremacists as a national threat. From the report:
There has been a concerning rise in attacks by individuals motivated by a variety of domestic terrorist ideologies, such as racially- and ethnically-motivated violent extremism, including [White] supremacist violent extremism, anti-government and anti-authority violent extremism, and other ideological strains that drive terrorist violence. Hate crimes and non-ideologically motivated large-scale or disproportionately lethal acts of mass violence, including mass attacks, round out the picture of terrorism and targeted violence afflicting the Homeland.
The techniques used for almost two decades to thwart foreign attacks will now be used to spot domestic ones, acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan wrote in the introduction to the counter-terrorism strategy report. “White supremacist violent extremists’ outlook can generally be characterized by hatred for immigrants and ethnic minorities, often combining these prejudices with virulent anti-Semitism or anti-Muslim views,” notes the report. The report also draws a direct line between how ISIS recruits disaffected Muslims and how violent White supremacists incite other like-minded individuals through the internet and various extremist websites.
McAleenan attributed the change to the explicit, deadly targeting of the Latinx community at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on August 3, according to Vice. Notably unnamed as a target for White Supremacists in the report: Black people.