The Department of Homeland Security has named white supremacy as the most “persistent and lethal threat” in the United States through 2021, according to draft documents.
The latest draft report speculates an “elevated threat environment at least through” next year, reports Politico. The extremists are reportedly capitalizing off of increased social and political tensions. “Foreign terrorist organizations will continue to call for Homeland attacks, but probably will remain constrained in their ability to direct such plots over the next year,” the documents read.
The threat evaluations also warned Americans against the possibility of misinformation from Russia — similar to what happened during the 2016 election. Russia “probably will be the primary covert foreign influence actor and purveyor of disinformation and misinformation in the Homeland,” the documents stated.
Lawfare Editor in Chief Benjamin Wittes made the three Department of Homeland Security documents public. He told CNN that “the most striking thing is in this political atmosphere; they have said what they said” — and white supremacist violence is what they're are most worried about. He also said that the drafts were worded differently, but they still label white supremacy as the deadliest threat.
“I don’t want to criticize them when that language is there,” he said. “That said it is somewhat different in the first draft than the subsequent two and I do think the nature of the change is notable as a reflection of the political pressure they are under.”
President Donald Trump has downplayed the threat of white supremacy during his current term, although the violent domestic extremism has reportedly increased while he has been in office. In 2017, he called the extremists who carried burning tiki torches through Charlottesville, Virginia “fine men.” This year, the president called the Black Lives Matter movement a “symbol of hate.”
The Trump administration, however, has spoken out against white supremacy.