DHS Group Identifies Being Religious As Potential Terrorism Indicator

Documents obtained by America First Legal (AFL) reveal that President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considered being “religious” or “in the military” as indicators of potential extremism and terrorism. Excerpts from the documents, released on Thursday, highlight the DHS’s efforts in 2023 to expand surveillance on American citizens by infiltrating local communities in non-threatening ways to encourage citizens to report on their neighbors.

The DHS’s “Homeland Intelligence Experts Group,” which included controversial figures like John Brennan and James Clapper, suggested that religious Americans, military members, and Trump supporters could be security threats. One excerpt stated, “If you ask researchers to dive into indicators of extremists and terrorism, they might indicate being in the military or religious. This being identified as an indicator suggests we should be more worried about these.”

The documents also indicated a perceived “political advantage” in linking domestic terrorism threats to Trump supporters. “It seems that most of the Domestic Terrorism threat now comes from supporters of the former president,” one segment noted. Despite claims of non-partisanship, the documents suggest a significant focus on Trump supporters.

Although the Biden administration agreed to disband the “Experts Group” in May following an AFL lawsuit, other federal agencies have increased efforts to target political dissidents. Newsweek reported in October that the FBI expanded its “anti-government or anti-authority violent extremists” (AGAAVE) classification to include political and social agendas, effectively creating a new terrorism category, “AGAAVE-Other.”

An FBI officer acknowledged that, while the language was nonpartisan, it practically targeted MAGA supporters. The FBI has also been criticized for using materials from left-wing groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center to target individuals with traditional Catholic beliefs, labeling them as “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.”

The Biden administration’s actions reflect a broader trend of using law enforcement to monitor and potentially criminalize political opposition. This has raised concerns about the use of government agencies to suppress dissent and infringe upon civil liberties.

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