Extremist Anti-Government Militias on the Rise

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Extremist Anti-Government Militias on the Rise

DHS Assessment Finds Inaction on Bundy Stand-Off Likely to Spur More Violence

Washington, DC — The failure to effectively address anti-government extremists is making matters more dangerous, according to a new federal law enforcement assessment released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The assessment predicts that the “perceived victory” by renegade rancher Cliven Bundy in his stand-off with the government is “likely to prompt more violence.”

An Intelligence Assessment from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security dated July 22, 2014, titled “Domestic Violent Extremists Pose Increased Threat to Government Officials and Law Enforcement,” notes that, “After years of only sporadic violence from violent domestic extremists motivated by anti-government ideologies, I&A (Office of Intelligence and Analysis) has seen a spike within the past year in violence. Based upon reports from state and federal law enforcement reports, this Assessment finds:

  • “I&A assesses that perceived victory by militia extremists in a show of force against the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Nevada in April will likely inspire additional anti-government violence over the next year.”
  • “I&A also assesses that the recent murders of two Las Vegas police officers is the latest and most severe in a growing trend of anti-government violence…” and
  • The “perceived victory” from the Bundy stand-off “is galvanizing some individuals – particularly militia extremists and violent lone offenders – to actively confront law enforcement officials, increasing the likelihood of violence.” 

“Like pumping billows onto a smoldering ember, Interior’s retreat in Nevada this spring, abetted by related reckless political rhetoric, appears to be encouraging and empowering dangerous right-wing extremists,” said PEER Southwest Director Daniel Patterson, who formerly worked for BLM. “This is a form of domestic terrorism which demands a swift, clear and definitive response.”

The Assessment stressed that law enforcement officers will be primary targets of militia attacks since they are perceived “as an extension of state control.” As with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the federal building, government facilities are also at enhanced risk.

“The law enforcement assessment suggests that timidity in the face of threats only breeds more threats,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “Without a cogent enforcement strategy, we can expect more armed confrontations putting both public servants and civilians at greater risk.”

BLM has taken no further action since it backed down this past April from an armed confrontation with militias seeking to prevent seizure of Bundy’s cattle illegally grazing on federal lands. PEER has been pushing for criminal charges against Bundy and militia snipers who targeted law enforcement officers. In addition, PEER is suing BLM to force release of information explaining its actions and why the situation was allowed to fester for years, as well as statistics on assaults against its employees.


Read the Homeland Security Intelligence Assessment

Look at pending lawsuit on BLM handling of the Bundy stand-off

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