FBI, Congressman Thompson, Joe Denna Han discussed on WNYC Programming
Called up Congressman Thompson on Skype, but his office in Bolton, Mississippi, the same town that elected him Mayor nearly 50 years ago about 500 people live in this little town. But you must know every single one of them more or less. Not only do I know them. I know their business. They know my business. There are no secrets way talked about how it felt struggle to get his colleagues to pay attention to this threat of right wing terrorism. It was frustrating to be honest with you because I knew this problem. Was growing in America and somehow I committed was missing the opportunity to address it, and that's unfortunate. But in 2019 Democrats took control of the house and Bennie Thompson took control of the Homeland Security Committee. And I know that after I became chairman We held a hearing. And it was only in this hearing. That members of Congress and the public get a chance to see and hear for the first time. What would going on? This hearing and other Democrat led oversight hearings got the FBI to finally acknowledge the serious threat of white supremacist terrorism. He said that quote racially motivated violent extremism was now as big a threat is Isis. These hearings didn't turn up a lot of details on exactly what the FBI was doing to deal with that threat on the ground, like the number of agents or cases or arrests. So I asked the FBI agent in charge of counterterrorism for the New York Field office. Joe Denna Han. I think there's really been a surge and what we assess is racially motivated, violent extremism both here in New Jersey and across the nation. I think a lot of the profiles of the subjects were we have seen conduct successful attacks or younger males. All of them really radicalized online. Now that The velocity of those threats and successful attacks appears to be increasing. We obviously dedicate a greater number of resource is to that threat when when you talk about that? Dedicating a greater number of resource is You share anything in the way of numbers, something to kind of just concretely get a sense of what that looks like. Unfortunately, can't give any specifics on that in terms of our personnel or assets, But I can tell you that there is a tremendous emphasis put on this. We recognize that the threat is evolving. And we're evolving with it. No question about it. And just to be clear. Why is it that you can't give more details on that? I'm not comfortable talking about. You know the number of agents that we have working a specific threat. So no numbers, and then there's the term itself racially motivated violent extremism. I call it that. Are we primarily talking about white supremacist terrorism? Me? No question that you know white, racially motivated extremism is a very serious problem. Well, what else fits into that? What he isn't saying is the whole point of the term, racially motivated violent extremism. Is that they're not just talking about white supremacists who've been responsible for more plots and attacks in the last few years than any other kind of terrorist in our database. What happened was in 2017 and FBI document was leaked to Foreign Policy magazine about something they called black identity extremists. Theo FBI define them as anyone using violence, quote in response to perceived racism and injustice in American society in particular police brutality. Was so broad, former FBI agent Mike German said. Basically, it's black people who scare them when Congressman Thompson heard about it not from the FBI, but from reading about it in the press. He wondered if it was really about countering.