Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) raised the alarm about the Democrats’ disturbing crackdown on “domestic terrorism” in the wake of the Capitol riot on January 6. She warned that the domestic terror bill that House Democrats have proposed would “undermine our constitutional rights and freedoms,” and lead to law enforcement targeting “almost half of the country.”
“We don’t have to guess about where this goes or how this ends,” Gabbard said, ominously, in an interview with Fox News on Friday.
“When you have people like former CIA Director John Brennan openly talking about how he’s spoken with or heard from appointees and nominees in the Biden administration who are already starting to look across our country for these types of movements similar to the insurgencies they’ve seen overseas, that in his words, he says make up this ‘unholy alliance’ of religious extremists, racists, bigots, he lists a few others and at the end, even libertarians,” the former congresswoman noted.
Indeed, as PJ Media’s Paula Bolyard reported, Brennan named libertarians as part of the “unholy alliance” including “religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, [and] nativists.” Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald warned that Brennan is suggesting using “the tools that they used to take ISIS off the internet, the tools they used to destroy al-Qaeda,” against political movements opposed to the Left.
Gabbard, a former Democratic presidential candidate, echoed that warning.
“What characteristics are we looking for as we are building this profile of a potential ‘extremist,’ what are we talking about? Religious extremists, are we talking about Christians, evangelical Christians, what is a religious extremist? Is it somebody who is pro-life? Where do you take this?” the former congresswoman asked.
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She gave examples. “Okay, well, obviously you have to be a white person, obviously likely male, libertarians. Well, anybody who loves freedom, liberty, maybe has an American flag their house or people who — you know — attended a Trump rally.”
Gabbard warned that this would lead to “a very dangerous undermining of our civil liberties, our freedoms in our Constitution, and a targeting of almost half of the country.”
The former congresswoman mentioned H.R. 350, the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021, and tied it to the growing demands on the Left that Trump supporters must be “deprogrammed.”
“This whole effort, whether you’re talking about this bill or people saying that we have to deprogram these Trump cultists and people who voted for Trump because they’ve been radicalized, all of this just goes to further tear our country apart,” Gabbard warned. “And it moves towards the thing Joe Biden said in his inauguration speech that shouldn’t happen, which is a dehumanization of your opponent.”
She called on Biden to condemn this terrifying trend. “He needs to denounce people like John Brennan and their statements, bills like the one Adam Schiff put forward, and truly speak to the American people about how we must come together.”
Gabbard is correct, but Biden seems likely to support this domestic terror agenda. On the campaign trail, Biden said he plans to prioritize passing a law against domestic terrorism. His blatant double standard in vocally condemning the Capitol riots while coddling the antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters who burned cities this past summer does not bode well for a balanced implementation of any terrorism law.
Indeed, Biden has arguably demonized conservative Christians who oppose LGBT activism. In 2018 at an LGBT activist group, he attacked people who have “tried to define family” in the U.S. as “the dregs of society.” At the CNN LGBT town hall in October 2019, Biden called for a kind of terror watchlist to monitor organizations that oppose same-sex marriage and transgender identity. Biden firmly supports the Equality Act, which would outlaw discrimination against LGBT people. While Americans do not support discrimination, laws like this have been weaponized to punish Christians for refusing to celebrate same-sex weddings.
Biden’s domestic terror agenda may echo that of Attorney General Dana Nessel (D-Mich.), who targeted conservative groups in her announcement launching a new “hate crimes” unit. Nessel condemned “hate groups” in Michigan, referencing the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a once-noble civil rights organization that has weaponized its history in bankrupting groups like the Ku Klux Klan to brand mainstream conservative organizations “hate groups.”
In my book, Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center, I trace how the SPLC expanded its Klanwatch program to start defaming organizations like the Family Research Council (FRC), Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), ACT for America, the Center for Security Policy (CSP), and many more as “hate groups,” putting them on a “hate map” with the KKK. This “hate map” inspired a deranged man to target the Family Research Council (FRC) for a mass shooting in 2012.
Former employees have described the “hate group” list as a “con” to bilk donors. They have noted that the list does not explain how many members are in each “hate group” and that some “hate groups” consist of one person or barely exist.
Yet Nessel specifically cited the SPLC’s list of “hate groups” in launching her “hate crimes” unit, and Nessel is far from alone among Democrats in relying on the SPLC. At least eight Democratic senators have cited the SPLC to condemn President Donald Trump’s nominees. Kamala Harris, now Biden’s vice president, attacked Trump judicial nominee Allison Rushing for participating in ADF events. This came after Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) had compared ADF to the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot. Even a former ACLU president, Nadine Strossen, stood up for ADF, vehemently disagreeing with the SPLC’s accusation, yet these Democrats continue to cite it.
It is not implausible that the Biden administration would weaponize anti-terror laws against conservatives. As Bolyard pointed out, the Obama administration circulated a terrorism dictionary in 2009 that described “antiabortion extremism” as “A movement of groups or individuals who are virulently antiabortion and advocate violence against providers of abortion-related services, their employees, and their facilities.” It went on to say that some individuals who oppose abortion “cite various racist and anti-Semitic beliefs to justify their criminal activities.”
In 2012, a Department of Homeland Security threat assessment warned of “single-issue” extremists they described as “groups or individuals that obsessively focus on very specific or narrowly-defined causes (e.g., anti-abortion, anti-Catholic, anti-nuclear, anti-Castro). The Obama administration repeatedly targeted pro-life Americans in this way.
Gabbard’s warning is extremely important, and she is right to urge Biden to condemn Brennan’s comments. Unfortunately, it seems Biden may be on board with the domestic war on terror agenda Gabbard warned about.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.