90 Miles From Tyranny : Biden Turns ‘War on Terror’ Tactics on Americans After Capitol Riot

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Biden Turns ‘War on Terror’ Tactics on Americans After Capitol Riot

He uses the threat of “white supremacist terrorism” to ramp up spying on private communications.

After the Capitol riot on January 6, the Biden administration is seeking to increase its ability to spy on Americans and disrupt political dissent.

According to a recent report, the administration plans to use private companies to monitor the private communications of alleged extremists. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is banned from creating false identities to access messaging groups, but using outside firms to snoop on messages would allow the department to bypass these regulations. This technicality would allow the government access to private communications without a warrant.

The government has also increased its open-source intelligence-gathering on perceived domestic threats. The Postal Service is monitoring social media with its Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) reports, which were shared with DHS.

The Pentagon’s 60-day stand down to combat extremism recently finished. Instead of focusing on information collection, it prioritized “listening to service members and civilians and their own feelings about extremism.” A questionnaire that includes issues on extremism will be introduced for recruits across the services. A military training presentation that was passed on to Politico warned against left-wing, right-wing, and religious extremism. The Department of Defense effort appears to be milder than what some alarmists originally believed would be a purging of the ranks.

Last week, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced an internal review to address extremism within DHS. Citing the January 6 Capitol incident as motivation, Mayorkas said that the “grave risks posed by domestic violent extremism, including to our employees and operations” mean that the department must investigate “how to best prevent, detect, and respond to domestic violent extremism threats within DHS.” Mayorkas also included a heavy financial price, at least $77 million, for his efforts. State and local governments will need to spend 7.5 percent of their DHS grant funding on combating domestic violent extremism.

Both DHS and the Pentagon have struggled with extremism in the past. Ryan Anderson, Paul Hall, and Nidal Hasan are notable examples of U.S. service members who acted in support of Al-Qaeda. In 2019, Coast Guard Lt. Paul Hasson was arrested for planning attacks on journalists and politicians inspired by Norwegian neo-Nazi Anders Breivik. This kind of extremism certainly should be addressed and punished.

But at a time when members of Congress are engaging in racial profiling of white National Guardsmen, as Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) recently did, deciding just what defines “extremism” is a difficult and dangerous game. Most recently, the government’s new, loose non-definition of extremism has placed Americans on the federal no-fly list.

The FBI discussed putting rioters on the no-fly list back in January. There are certainly arguments for placing people who are imminent security risks or who have committed acts of political violence on such a list. But it now appears likely that people who were present at the protests in Washington, D.C., on January 6 but did not enter the Capitol or engage in any form of violence were placed on...

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