Throughout 2018, Department of Homeland Security officials were working on a new counterterrorism strategy that would include combating the uprising of domestic terrorism by white supremacy extremists.
The final draft, released on October 4, just briefly mentions the threat. National Security Adviser John Bolton blocked the DHS efforts.
[Miles] Taylor wrote a “dream draft” emphasizing everything DHS would want from the strategy document — including a focus on domestic terrorist threats, along with threats from radical Islamist terrorism and other foreign actors. Four months after [Kirstjen] Nielsen started as DHS secretary, Trump replaced [H.R.] McMaster with John Bolton. The process of drafting the counterterrorism strategy continued under Bolton’s leadership.
“What ended up getting significantly dropped was all the stuff we talked about on domestic terrorism,” Taylor said. “We got a draft back from John Bolton that barely referenced domestic terrorism.”
Nielsen wasn’t happy, according to Taylor.
“She was like, ‘What gives?’” Taylor said. “He was like, ‘We’re doing more drafts, we’re doing more turns on it, just stay tuned, we’ll work on this. And she said, ‘It’s very important to me that we emphasize domestic terrorism here. This has got to be an administration priority.’”
The final document, released on Oct. 4, 2018, contained just two short paragraphs on domestic terrorism. One noted that the U.S. faced internal threats from “racially motivated extremism, animal rights extremism, environmental extremism, sovereign citizen extremism, and militia extremism.” A second promised that the government would “investigate ties between domestic terrorists not motivated by radical Islamist ideologies and their overseas counterparts to more fully understand them.”
It was brief.
“They said, ‘We’ll come up with a separate domestic terrorism strategy,” Taylor said. “Bullshit. They never did. It just got lost.”
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