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How Congress is fighting the U.S. Government’s white supremacy problem – American Politics

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How Congress is fighting the U.S. Government's white supremacy problem

A masked demonstrator in a Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” hat wipes his brow as self proclaimed “White Nationalists”, white supremacists and members of the “Alt-Right” gather for what they called a “Freedom of Speech” rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, U.S. June 25, 2017.
(photo credit: JIM BOURG / REUTERS)

In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, 40 US Members of Congress on Wednesday demanded answers as to why “the State Department has failed to include certain overseas violent white supremacist groups Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list.”

The letter, led by Congressman Max Rose, Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, recalls numerous international acts of hate and violence.

“The recent attack in Halle, Germany which killed two innocent people, is just the latest example of white supremacist terrorism,” the letter read.

On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, a gunman livestreamed his attack on a Jewish synagogue. “The root of all problems is the Jew,” the alleged gunman said in a video seen by The Jerusalem Post.

“Like the previous shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand,” the letter continued, “the attack in Halle was livestreamed and the killer posted a hateful anti-Semitic manifesto” online.

The members of Congress cited SITE Intelligence Director, Rita Katz, who drew conclusions from the separate videos of the alleged Halle shooter and the Christchurch attacker.

Katz was quoted as saying the “similarity between this video and the attacker’s underscores that these are isolated attacks by people merely holding similar beliefs.” The Halle “attack is another installment from a global terrorist network, linked together via online safe havens much like ISIS.”

The Congressmen and women highlighted that “there are several resources available to counter the threats” posed by potential American citizens swearing allegiance to the so-called Islamic State or other Foreign Terrorist Organizations on the list. Yet, if an American were to swear allegiance to a “violent white supremacist extremist group,” the federal government does not have the same tools.

In a September strategy report, The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that “White supremacist violent extremism, one type of racially- and ethnically-motivated violent extremism, is one of the most potent forces driving domestic terrorism.”

“Lone attackers,” known to Israeli security services as ‘lone wolf’ attackers, “as opposed to cells or organizations, generally perpetrate these kinds of attacks. But they are also part of a broader movement,” the DHS report said.

The report points to how “white supremacist violent extremists connect with like-mined individuals online.  In addition to mainstream social media platforms,” the report continues, “white supremacist violent extremists use lesser-known sites like Gab, 8chan, and EndChan, as well as encrypted channels.”

Since the events of Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, where a white supremacist rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters at a far-right rally and US President Donald Trump caused bipartisan outrage by saying there were “very fine people on both sides,” more attention is being paid to the white supremacy movement, its actions and influence in the United States.

The letter, drafted by some 40 Members on Congress, hopes to tackle the lack of inclusion in the State Department’s criteria on the FTO list, which would make the tools which handle would-be Islamic State terrorists, readily available against the white supremacy movement and its influence in the United States.

JTA, Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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