It’s U – The Terrorist List Of NoBama Voters

(U//FOUO) Rightwing Extremism: Current

Economic and Political Climate Fueling

Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment

7 April 2009

(U) Prepared by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Analysis

Division. Coordinated with the FBI.

(U) Scope

(U//FOUO) This product is one of a series of intelligence assessments published by the

Extremism and Radicalization Branch to facilitate a greater understanding of the

phenomenon of violent radicalization in the United States. The information is

provided to federal, state, local, and tribal counterterrorism and law enforcement

officials so they may effectively deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks

against the United States. Federal efforts to influence domestic public opinion must be

conducted in an overt and transparent manner, clearly identifying United States

Government sponsorship.



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(U) Key Findings

(U//LES) The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific

information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence,

but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about

several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first

African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and


— (U//LES) Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups

during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry

out violent acts. Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic

downturn—including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability

to obtain credit—could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing

extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and

government authorities similar to those in the past.

— (U//LES) Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first

African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new

members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal

through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.

(U//FOUO) The current economic and political climate has some similarities to the

1990s when rightwing extremism experienced a resurgence fueled largely by an

economic recession, criticism about the outsourcing of jobs, and the perceived threat to

U.S. power and sovereignty by other foreign powers.

— (U//FOUO) During the 1990s, these issues contributed to the growth in the

number of domestic rightwing terrorist and extremist groups and an increase in

violent acts targeting government facilities, law enforcement officers, banks,

and infrastructure sectors.

— (U//FOUO) Growth of these groups subsided in reaction to increased government scrutiny as a result of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and

disrupted plots, improvements in the economy, and the continued U.S. standing

as the preeminent world power.

(U//FOUO) The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of

military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities

could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists

capable of carrying out violent attacks.

(U) Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and

adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups),

and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or

rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a

single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.



Page 3 of 9

— (U//FOUO) Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans

likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups,

as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for

violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and

stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation

of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary

concern to law enforcement.

— (U//FOUO) Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing

extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to

boost their violent capabilities.

(U) Current Economic and Political Climate

(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that a number of economic and political factors are

driving a resurgence in rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization activity.

Despite similarities to the climate of the 1990s, the threat posed by lone wolves and small

terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years. In addition, the historical election of

an African American president and the prospect of policy changes are proving to be a

driving force for rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization.

— (U) A recent example of the potential violence associated with a rise in rightwing extremism may be found in the shooting deaths of three police officers in

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 4 April 2009. The alleged gunman’s reaction

reportedly was influenced by his racist ideology and belief in antigovernment

conspiracy theories related to gun confiscations, citizen detention camps, and a

Jewish-controlled “one world government.”

(U) Exploiting Economic Downturn

(U//FOUO) Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors,

and home foreclosures. Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate

conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish “financial elites.” These “accusatory” tactics

are employed to draw new recruits into rightwing extremist groups and further radicalize

those already subscribing to extremist beliefs. DHS/I&A assesses this trend is likely to

accelerate if the economy is perceived to worsen.

(U) Historical Presidential Election

(U//LES) Rightwing extremists are harnessing this historical election as a recruitment

tool. Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential

administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and

citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms



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(U//FOUO) Perceptions on Poverty and Radicalization

(U//FOUO) Scholars and experts disagree over poverty’s role in motivating violent radicalization orterrorist activity. High unemployment, however, has the potential to lead to

alienation, thus increasing an individual’s susceptibility to extremist ideas. According to a

2007 study from the German Institute for Economic Research, there appears to be a strong association between a parent’s unemployment status and the formation of rightwing extremist beliefs in their children—specifically xenophobia and antidemocratic ideals.

ownership and use. Rightwing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns

and leverage them as drivers for recruitment. From the 2008 election timeframe to the

present, rightwing extremists have capitalized on related racial and political prejudices in

expanded propaganda campaigns, thereby reaching out to a wider audience of potential


— (U//LES) Most statements by rightwing extremists have been rhetorical,

expressing concerns about the election of the first African American president,

but stopping short of calls for violent action. In two instances in the run-up to the

election, extremists appeared to be in the early planning stages of some

threatening activity targeting the Democratic nominee, but law enforcement


(U) Revisiting the 1990s

(U//FOUO) Paralleling the current national climate, rightwing extremists during the

1990s exploited a variety of social issues and political themes to increase group visibility

and recruit new members. Prominent among these themes were the militia movement’s

opposition to gun control efforts, criticism of free trade agreements (particularly those

with Mexico), and highlighting perceived government infringement on civil liberties as

well as white supremacists’ longstanding exploitation of social issues such as abortion,

inter-racial crimes, and same-sex marriage. During the 1990s, these issues contributed to

the growth in the number of domestic rightwing terrorist and extremist groups and an

increase in violent acts targeting government facilities, law enforcement officers, banks,

and infrastructure sectors.

(U) Economic Hardship and Extremism

(U//FOUO) Historically, domestic rightwing extremists have feared, predicted, and

anticipated a cataclysmic economic collapse in the United States. Prominent

antigovernment conspiracy theorists have incorporated aspects of an impending

economic collapse to intensify fear and paranoia among like-minded individuals and to

attract recruits during times of economic uncertainty. Conspiracy theories involving

declarations of martial law, impending civil strife or racial conflict, suspension of the

U.S. Constitution, and the creation of citizen detention camps often incorporate aspects of

a failed economy. Antigovernment conspiracy theories and “end times” prophecies could

motivate extremist individuals and groups to stockpile food, ammunition, and weapons.

These teachings also have been linked with the radicalization of domestic extremist

individuals and groups in the past, such as violent Christian Identity organizations and

extremist members of the militia movement.



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(U) Illegal Immigration

(U//FOUO) Rightwing extremists were concerned during the 1990s with the perception that illegal immigrants were taking away American jobs through their willingness to

work at significantly lower wages. They also opposed free trade agreements, arguing that

these arrangements resulted in Americans losing jobs to countries such as Mexico.

(U//FOUO) Over the past five years, various rightwing extremists, including militias and

white supremacists, have adopted the immigration issue as a call to action, rallying point,

and recruiting tool. Debates over appropriate immigration levels and enforcement policy

generally fall within the realm of protected political speech under the First Amendment,

but in some cases, anti-immigration or strident pro-enforcement fervor has been directed

against specific groups and has the potential to turn violent.

(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremist groups’ frustration over a perceived lack of government action on illegal immigration has the potential to incite

individuals or small groups toward violence. If such violence were to occur, it likely

would be isolated, small-scale, and directed at specific immigration-related targets.

— (U//FOUO) DHS/I&A notes that prominent civil rights organizations have

observed an increase in anti-Hispanic crimes over the past five years.

— (U) In April 2007, six militia members were arrested for various weapons and

explosives violations. Open source reporting alleged that those arrested had

discussed and conducted surveillance for a machinegun attack on Hispanics.

— (U) A militia member in Wyoming was arrested in February 2007 after communicating his plans to travel to the Mexican border to kill immigrants

crossing into the United States.

(U) Legislative and Judicial Drivers

(U//FOUO) Many rightwing extremist groups perceive recent gun control legislation as a

threat to their right to bear arms and in response have increased weapons and ammunition

stockpiling, as well as renewed participation in paramilitary training exercises. Such

activity, combined with a heightened level of extremist paranoia, has the potential to

facilitate criminal activity and violence.

— (U//FOUO) During the 1990s, rightwing extremist hostility toward government

was fueled by the implementation of restrictive gun laws—such as the Brady Law

that established a 5-day waiting period prior to purchasing a handgun and the

1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that limited the sale of

various types of assault rifles—and federal law enforcement’s handling of the

confrontations at Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho.



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— (U//FOUO) On the current front, legislation has been proposed this year requiring mandatory registration of all firearms in the United States. Similarlegislation was introduced in 2008 in several states proposing mandatory tagging and registration of ammunition. It is unclear if either bill will be passed into law; nonetheless, a correlation may exist between the potential passage of gun control legislation and increased hoarding of ammunition, weapons stockpiling, and paramilitary training activities among rightwing extremists..

(U//FOUO) Open source reporting of wartime ammunition shortages has likely spurred rightwing extremists—as well as law-abiding Americans—to make bulk purchases of ammunition. These shortages have increased the cost of ammunition, further exacerbating rightwing extremist paranoia and leading to further stockpiling activity. Both rightwing extremists and law-abiding citizens share a belief that rising crime ratesattributed to a slumping economy make the purchase of legitimate firearms a wise move at this time.

(U//FOUO) Weapons rights and gun-control legislation are likely to be hotly contested subjects of political debate in light of the 2008 Supreme Court’s decision in District of

Columbia v. Heller in which the Court reaffirmed an individual’s right to keep and bear

arms under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but left open to debate the

precise contours of that right. Because debates over constitutional rights are intense, and

parties on all sides have deeply held, sincere, but vastly divergent beliefs, violent

extremists may attempt to co-opt the debate and use the controversy as a radicalization


(U) Perceived Threat from Rise of Other Countries

(U//FOUO) Rightwing extremist paranoia of foreign regimes could escalate or be

magnified in the event of an economic crisis or military confrontation, harkening back to

the “New World Order” conspiracy theories of the 1990s. The dissolution of Communist

countries in Eastern Europe and the end of the Soviet Union in the 1990s led some

rightwing extremists to believe that a “New World Order” would bring about a world

government that would usurp the sovereignty of the United States and its Constitution,

thus infringing upon their liberty. The dynamics in 2009 are somewhat similar, as other

countries, including China, India, and Russia, as well as some smaller, oil-producing

states, are experiencing a rise in economic power and influence.

— (U//FOUO) Fear of Communist regimes and related conspiracy theories characterizing the U.S. Government’s role as either complicit in a foreign

invasion or acquiescing as part of a “One World Government” plan inspired

extremist members of the militia movement to target government and military

facilities in past years.

— (U//FOUO) Law enforcement in 1996 arrested three rightwing militia members

in Battle Creek, Michigan with pipe bombs, automatic weapons, and military



Page 7 of 9

(U//FOUO) Lone Wolves and Small Terrorist Cells

(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States. Information from law enforcement and nongovernmental organizations indicates lone wolves and small terrorist cells have shown intent—and, in some cases, the capability—to commit violent acts.

— (U//LES) DHS/I&A has concluded that white supremacist lone wolves pose the most significant domestic terrorist threat because of their low profile and autonomy—separate from any formalized group—which hampers warning efforts.

— (U//FOUO) Similarly, recent state and municipal law enforcement reporting has warned of the dangers of rightwing extremists embracing the tactics of “leaderless resistance” and of lone wolves carrying out acts of violence.

— (U//FOUO) Arrests in the past several years of radical militia members in Alabama, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania on firearms, explosives, and other related violations indicates the emergence of small, well-armed extremist groups in some rural areas. ordnance that they planned to use in attacks on nearby military and federal facilities and infrastructure targets.

— (U//FOUO) Rightwing extremist views bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and

have recently focused on themes such as the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability

to China and India, Russia’s control of energy resources and use of these to

pressure other countries, and China’s investment in U.S. real estate and

corporations as a part of subversion strategy.

(U) Disgruntled Military Veterans

(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and

radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from

military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the

capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out

violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist

groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from

the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.

— (U) After Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-1991, some returning military

veterans—including Timothy McVeigh—joined or associated with rightwing

extremist groups.

— (U) A prominent civil rights organization reported in 2006 that “large numbers

of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other white supremacists are now

learning the art of warfare in the [U.S.] armed forces.”

— (U//LES) The FBI noted in a 2008 report on the white supremacist movement that some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have

joined extremist groups.



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(U) Outlook

(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that the combination of environmental factors that echo the 1990s, including heightened interest in legislation for tighter firearms restrictions and

returning military veterans, as well as several new trends, including an uncertain

economy and a perceived rising influence of other countries, may be invigorating

rightwing extremist activity, specifically the white supremacist and militia movements.

To the extent that these factors persist, rightwing extremism is likely to grow in strength.

(U//FOUO) Unlike the earlier period, the advent of the Internet and other informationage

technologies since the 1990s has given domestic extremists greater access to

information related to bomb-making, weapons training, and tactics, as well as targeting of

individuals, organizations, and facilities, potentially making extremist individuals and

groups more dangerous and the consequences of their violence more severe. New

technologies also permit domestic extremists to send and receive encrypted

communications and to network with other extremists throughout the country and abroad,

making it much more difficult for law enforcement to deter, prevent, or preempt a violent

extremist attack.

(U//FOUO) A number of law enforcement actions and external factors were effective in limiting the militia movement during the 1990s and could be utilized in today’s climate.

— (U//FOUO) Following the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal

building in Oklahoma City, the militia movement declined in total membership

and in the number of organized groups because many members distanced

themselves from the movement as a result of the intense scrutiny militias received

after the bombing.

— (U//FOUO) Militia membership continued to decline after the turn of the

millennium as a result of law enforcement disruptions of multiple terrorist plots

linked to violent rightwing extremists, new legislation banning paramilitary

training, and militia frustration that the “revolution” never materialized.

— (U//FOUO) Although the U.S. economy experienced a significant recovery and

many perceived a concomitant rise in U.S. standing in the world, white

supremacist groups continued to experience slight growth.

(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A will be working with its state and local partners over the next

several months to ascertain with greater regional specificity the rise in rightwing

extremist activity in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the political,

economic, and social factors that drive rightwing extremist radicalization.



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