In recent years, we’ve learned the extent to which right wing extremism has been on the rise in America. That is now the face of terrorism in this country. It’s no longer an external threat. It’s festering right here in our own backyards fueled by online conspiracy theories and even the words of major news channels and public officials.
“The red line appears when someone is threatening or inciting violence.” —Rep. Elissa Slotkin, Chairwoman, House Intelligence and Counterterrorism Subcommittee
This year started with a violent right wing insurrection that made it impossible to ignore the extent to which this problem has become a threat to the nation. But even before that, in October 13 militia members were charged in connection with a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and instigate a “civil war.” Michigan now has a very powerful voice in the fight against domestic terrorism. U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) is now the chairwoman of the U.S. House Intelligence and Counterterrorism Subcommittee within the Committee on Homeland Security. She says fighting domestic terrorism will be her biggest priority in that role.
Listen: Rep. Slotkin talks about the false equivalencies that get thrown around in the domestic terror debate.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin is a Democrat from Holly representing Michigan’s 8th Congressional District and chairwoman of the U.S. House Intelligence and Counterterrorism Subcommittee within the Committee on Homeland Security. Slotkin says there are many connections between the ease of acquiring guns in the U.S. and violent extremism. ”The issues of domestic terrorism need to be cross referenced with gun violence. We need to do something legislatively on both issues because they overlap,” she says.
Slotkin is a former CIA analyst and senior Pentagon official who spent two decades studying external threats to national security. Now, she says the biggest threats are here at home.
“I think, for me, Jan. 6th really ended the post-9/11 era, those 20 years where the threats came from abroad into the United States,” she says. “And it inaugurated another era, which is where the divisiveness between us as Americans is, I believe, the greatest threat to our national security.”
She says Americans have the right to be angry with their government. But she says First Amendment rights end where violence begins. ”The red line appears when someone is threatening or inciting violence,” she says.
“There’s no equivalence between Antifa and a group like the Proud Boys or the Oathkeepers who were instrumental in coming into the Capitol on (Jan. 6).” —Rep. Elissa Slotkin, Chairwoman, House Intelligence and Counterterrorism Subcommittee
Slotkin also says that there are false equivalencies that get thrown around in the domestic terror debate.
“Being a CIA analyst by training actually helps me here,” she says. ”There is no such thing as making up data and making up facts. You can do that as a politician, but you can’t do that as an intelligence analyst. So what we’ve tried to do in our committee is bring in the FBI, bring in the Department of Homeland Security, get these intelligence briefs, oftentimes in a classified room, in a classified setting, and level-set between Democrats and Republicans on where the threat is coming from and what you will hear both in private and in public.”
“The FBI will tell you right now, there is not one open case of domestic terrorism of violent extremism against the group called Antifa,” she continues. ”It’s an ideology. It is not an organized group with leaders and money and organization. It’s very, very different. And there’s no equivalence between Antifa and a group like the Proud Boys or the Oathkeepers who were instrumental in coming into the Capitol on (Jan. 6).”
Web story written by Allise Hurd