In July of 2011, just days after the massacre of 77 mostly children at a youth summer camp by a Rightwing extremist in Norway, Brian Levin, the Director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University interviewed Daryl Johnson, formerly of the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS).
Johnson was the agency's senior domestic terrorism analyst from 2004 to 2010. He was also the lead author of DHS' April 2009 draft report --- which was, shortly thereafter, retracted under pressure from Republicans, rightwingers and some veterans groups --- entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment" [PDF].
After the public outcry from the Rightwing victimization industry, the DHS shamefully apologized for working on the report at all, even though it was begun during the Bush Administration; was being produced in response to a mandate from Congress; followed a DHS report on Leftwing extremism [PDF] (which received no similar outraged protestations) in January of 2009; and was authored by Johnson, who describes himself in the interview below as a pro-life, pro-gun, conservative Republican Mormon.
The draft 9-page DHS report had cautioned about the re-emergence of potentially violent extremist groups "that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely."
It warned that similar conditions to those in the 1990's (an economic recession, a Democrat in the White House) which had led to, among other domestic terrorist incidents, the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, had brought about a "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."
The report cautioned that "lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States" and concluded that "rightwing extremism is likely to grow in strength."
Following the deadly attack on two police offers and another person on Sunday in Las Vegas, allegedly carried out by two married members who self-identified as part of the so-called "Liberty Movement" and who appeared at the Nevada ranch of Cliven Bundy during the recent armed protest against the federal government with others in the movement, it seems a good moment to revisit that 2011 interview with the lead author of that retracted DHS report.
The alleged killers in the tragedy over the weekend later killed themselves. They reportedly draped the dead bodies of the two cops they shot with the Gadsden ("Don't Tread on Me") flag, popular with those in the "Tea Party" and "Liberty" movements, and were said to have kept Swastikas and other Nazi memorabilia in their apartment.
Neighbors told reporters that the two "had a reputation for spouting racist, anti-government views, bragging about their gun collection and boasting that they’d spent time at Cliven Bundy’s ranch during a recent standoff there between armed militia members and federal government agents."
In other words, the warnings of Johnson, both in the retracted 2009 DHS report and in his 2011 interview, seem extraordinarily prescient today, for some odd reason.
Here are extended excerpts, some of them chilling in retrospect, from that 2011 interview of Daryl Johnson by Brian Levin...