Ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Bennie Thompson, just wrote a letter to Peter King asking him to include other terrorists, in addition to Islamic extremists, in his fear-mongering hearing this month.
I write to request that you broaden the scope of your examination of ideological-based violence.
Terrorists of all ideologies seek to do Americans harm. According to a polling of state law enforcement agencies conducted by the Department of Homeland Security’s START Center of Excellence, there are a variety of domestic extremist groups more prevalent in the United States than Islamic extremists, including neo-Nazis, environmental extremists, anti-tax groups, and others. Islamic extremist groups were named a threat in 31 states, according to the poll; Neo-Nazi groups, by contrast, posed a serious threat in 46 states.
Ideological-based violence of all kinds has been on the rise, according to a variety of indicators. As the incident in Spokane, Washington, this past Martin Luther King Day has shown, Islamic extremists aren’t the only ones willing and able to utilize sophisticated devices intended to kill many Americans. In fact, three of the five CBRNE plots since 2001 were planned by white supremacist groups; none of them were attributed to Muslim extremists.
While I share your concern about the threat posed to our nation from violence borne of ideologically driven extremism, I believe that this Committee’s exploration of the current and emerging threat environment should be a broad-based examination of domestic extremist groups, regardless of their respective ideological underpinnings. I hope you share my belief that in the final analysis, the ideology of a bomb maker matters less than the lethal effects of his creation.
Sadly, I think the entire point for Peter King has always been about ideology, both back when he supported the IRA and now that he opposes Islamic extremism.
And given the response of new Republicans Chairs in the last month, King is likely to completely ignore Thompson’s request.
But at this letter puts King on notice that his ideological fear-mongering has little to do with the real threats to the US.