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FBI, DHS Ignored Far-Right Dangers Ahead of Trump Riot (W. J. Henniga, Time Magazine)
Even as Congress’ law enforcement and security officials were held accountable for what they did, or perhaps didn’t do, attention turned to the lack of apparent response from immense federal agencies run by President Trump, like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or FBI.
It’s not like these agencies, which after 9/11 were granted sweeping authorities and capabilities to unearth terror plots and suspects, weren’t aware of the threat. On Oct. 6, DHS issued its first-ever “Homeland Threat Assessment” that said far-right extremists pose the largest threat to the U.S. homeland, other than adversarial nation-states. In what now reads like an ominous warning, the 26-page document said that domestic extremists “might target events related to the 2020 Presidential campaigns, the election itself, election results, or the post-election period” and that they “could mobilize quickly to threaten or engage in violence.” It identified open-air events, “such as campaign-associated mass gatherings” as “the most likely flash points for potential violence.”
It was an unusually pointed statement by DHS, which under the Trump Administration has been pressured to downplay the threat posed by rightwing and white supremacist groups, according to former intelligence officials and whistleblowers. DHS and FBI did not return requests for comment, but security analysts say the federal government must prioritize far-right violence among homegrown threats.

According to a 2020 study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, right-wing extremists perpetrated two-thirds of the U.S. terror attacks and plots in 2019 and more than 90% between Jan. 1 and May 8, 2020. Far right extremists “are taking advantage of the fact that we’re all turning a blind eye to it,” said Elizabeth Neumann, who resigned from leading the DHS office that oversees responses to violent extremism last April. Domestic terrorism is not even a federal crime, forcing prosecutors to charge suspects under other laws, such as hate-crime laws. “A lot could be helped by some clear-cut messaging much as we did after the 9/11 attacks, defining the enemy, defining the threat and saying, ‘We’re not going to stand for this,’” Neumann said.

What Experts on Extremism Want From the Biden Administration (James D. Walsh, New York Magazine)
President Trump approached violent extremism the same way he approached climate change and the pandemic. He ignored it and then tended to it for political gain, even as his own security officials sounded the alarm. From his infamous “very fine people on both sides” remarks after Charlottesville, to his refusal to disavow QAnon conspiracists, to his incessant demands to “liberate” states where strict COVID-19 rules were in effect, to his defense of Kyle Rittenhouse, the militia member charged with killing two George Floyd protesters in Wisconsin, Trump made the country more vulnerable to far-right extremist violence. Experts agree Wednesday’s violence is an escalation, not a climax.
“This is an enduring issue for the rest of the country, not just Washington, D.C.,” said Javed Ali, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council. “Empirically, [Wednesday’s riot] showed a proof of concept — it worked. Beyond inauguration, what events, statehouses, or government buildings, will be subjected to this? People can swarm these places quite easily thanks to social media.”
On Thursday, President-elect Joe Biden called Wednesday’s rioters “domestic terrorists,” which some have interpreted as a willingness to give federal prosecutors and law enforcement officers broader authority to investigate and charge extremists. In recent years, lawmakers have debated whether a federal statute should criminalize domestic terrorism, simplifying the current process which requires prosecutors to make cases against violent extremists using a wide range of charges that often don’t explicitly mention the word terrorism, even when the crimes meet the federal definition of domestic terrorism. For example, prosecutors charged Christopher Hasson, a Coast Guard lieutenant who stockpiled arms and ammunition with the intent of carrying out a mass murder in the name of a white homeland, with firearms and drug charges despite the fact that prosecutors had explicitly called Hasson a domestic terrorist.

State Department Approves Creation of Cyber Bureau (Frank Konkel, Nextgov)
The Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies Bureau will address national security- and diplomatic-related tech issues.

Pentagon Releases Strategy for Countering Small Drones (Mila Jasper, Nexgov)
The strategy’s accompanying implementation plan is set for release later this month, DOD officials said.

She was deep into it’: Ashli Babbitt, killed in Capitol riot, was devoted conspiracy theorist (Lois Beckett and Vivian Ho, Guardian)
Babbitt, shot by police on Wednesday, saw storming of Capitol as a pivotal moment for the country

Chinese Students in the US Caught Up in Geopolitics and Trump’s Immigration Crackdown (Rong Xiaoqing, Documented)
Thousands of students fled or decided not to come to the U.S. over Trump’s crackdown on Chinese nationals and immigration policies