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Concerns of Extremism Mount in Federal, Military Institutions

Congressional Democrats raised concerns in a letter sent to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, asking what steps the DHS has taken to remove domestic extremists from the department, the Washington Post reports. Recent reports said that more than 300 current or former DHS employees were members of the right-wing Oath Keepers group as of 2015. It also said Customs and Border Protection staff were working with conservative militia groups at the U.S.-Mexico border. In March 2022, a working group of senior DHS officials found the department had “significant gaps that have impeded its ability to comprehensively prevent, detect, and respond to potential threats related to domestic violent extremism within DHS.”

An analysis of court documents, independent studies and media reports found that in the last five years, at least 82 current and former military personnel have been arrested and exposed as having far-right, antigovernment, or neo-Nazi ideologies, the Boston Globe reports. That number excludes the Jan. 6 insurrection. Some plotted to kill law enforcement members, torch minority churches, sabotage their own military units, kidnap politicians and destroy national infrastructure. Others amassed arsenals in preparation for perceived race and civil wars. Some fired their weapons. “This is the single biggest threat to the security of the country,” said Daryl Johnson, a former DHS analyst. “I see this only getting worse. I don’t see it ever getting better in my lifetime.” There remain no Pentagon-wide protocols to identify extremists within the ranks. Speaking of the DHS problems, Rep. Daniel S. Goldman (D-N.Y.) told the Post in an interview, “There’s real urgency here.” Goldman said DHS’s acknowledgment that there were gaps in identifying extremist employees “creates real security issues and real credibility issues for the department, especially in light of the Oath Keepers’ role in January 6th and the convictions for seditious conspiracy.”


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