Far-Right Terrorism

Last year, I linked to a Cato study on the likelihood of a foreign terrorist attack (TL;DR: it’s astronomically low). With Charlottesville in the news, this piece from Foreign Policy was particularly interesting:

Related imageThe FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in May warned that white supremacist groups had already carried out more attacks than any other domestic extremist group over the past 16 years and were likely to carry out more attacks over the next year, according to an intelligence bulletin obtained by Foreign Policy.

Even as President Donald Trump continues to resist calling out white supremacists for violence, federal law enforcement has made clear that it sees these types of domestic extremists as a severe threat. The report, dated May 10, says the FBI and DHS believe that members of the white supremacist movement “likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year.”

…The FBI…has already concluded that white supremacists, including neo-Nazi supporters and members of the Ku Klux Klan, are in fact responsible for the lion’s share of violent attacks among domestic extremist groups. White supremacists “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement,” reads the joint intelligence bulletin.

The report, titled “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence,” was prepared by the FBI and DHS.

The bulletin’s numbers appear to correspond with outside estimates. An independent database compiled by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute found that between 2008 and 2016, far-right plots and attacks outnumbered Islamist incidents by almost 2 to 1.

Now, granted, when we consider that the Southern Poverty Law Center “estimates that [today] there are between 5,000 and 8,000 Klan members, split among dozens of different – and often warring – organizations that use the Klan name,” that’s a huge improvement over the 4 million in the mid-1920s. But I find it ironic that groups that worry about the influx of immigrants in part due to potential terror attacks are more likely to commit said attacks in recent years.1