White supremacism is not the greatest threat

"And we won't ignore what our own intelligence agencies have determined — the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today is from White supremacist terrorism."

—Lyin' Joe Biden on April 28, 2021

Yes, the First Amendment applies to all, even the current president.  Speech must be free, as I noted before, "whether it's good news or not, the truth or not, nice or not[.] ... But speech does not stand alone; one of its virtues is that it reveals the character of the speaker."

Biden, his advisers, and the speechwriters, taken together and individually, are a singular disappointment, as is every media outlet, pundit, and blogger that failed to call out this falsehood. They are all complicit in trying to hoodwink the American public.

What the 2021 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community (ATA) actually says bears little relationship to Biden's simplistic canard.  It's a messy mélange of climate change; COVID; international players; environmentalism; and, yes, White supremacists.  Here's a brief rundown of its head-spinning accusations.

The ATA begins by excusing the many things that could be viewed as mealy-mouthed.  "The order of the topics presented in this assessment does not necessarily indicate their relative importance or the magnitude of the threats in the view of the IC."

It continues by discussing necessary responses "where a near-term focus may help head off greater threats in the future, such as climate change and environmental degradation."  The authors goofed there.  Don't they know it's a "climate emergency," not just climate change?  Geez, guys, get it right!

According to the forward, "the United States and its allies will face a diverse array of threats that are playing out amidst the global disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and against the backdrop of ... the disruptive effects of ecological degradation and a changing climate[.]"  There it is again — climate crisis!

From there, the ATA immediately moves to "The complexity of the threats, their intersections, and the potential for cascading events in an increasingly interconnected and mobile world create new challenges for the IC."  A weasel statement if there ever was one, but fatuously accurate.

Then, circling back, the ATA again hits the climate: "Ecological and climate changes, for example, are connected to public health risks, humanitarian concerns, social and political instability, and geopolitical rivalry."

A paragraph acknowledging our four major adversaries (Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea) is followed by one providing the I.C.'s threat assessment of COVID-19.  And then we're bungied back to "Ecological degradation and a changing climate ..."  Concluding comments include, "The IC is vigilant in monitoring and assessing direct and indirect threats to US and allied interests."

Next, "yada yada yada" chapters on the four adversaries.  Then it's Transnational Issues.  COVID-19 is the first section followed by — you guessed it — Climate Change and Environmental Degradation.  Five pages and four sections later, we get to Global Terrorism.

Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists is fourth in this category after ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Hezb'allah, and before CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear).  Only then do we get to Biden's "most lethal" threat.  And what does it consist of?

Violent extremists who espouse an often-overlapping mix of White supremacist, neo-Nazi, and exclusionary cultural-nationalist beliefs have the most persistent transnational connections via often loose online communities to like-minded individuals and groups in the West.

Violent extremists who promote the superiority of the White race have been responsible for at least 26 lethal attacks that killed more than 141 people and for dozens of disrupted plots in the West since 2015.

[M]ost attacks have been carried out by individuals or small, independent cells.

I sure would like to see the list of the 26 White supremacist attacks that killed more than 141 people since 2015 in the West.  The West — that's, like, North America, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.  So, an average of slightly more than four attacks and 23 deaths a year — not quite global in scope.  In no way statistically significant, though certainly of the utmost importance to those closest to the tragedies.  And how many of those attacks were carried out in prison by incarcerated Aryan Nation types? I wonder.

The report concludes with the chapter on Conflicts and Instability that has a paragraph each on a variety of regions.  Peculiarly, given the report's environmental emphasis, the Africa section does not mention the 27,000 square miles of oil-polluted wetlands in Nigeria, possibly the greatest single area on Earth so severely damaged.  For comparison, Exxon-Valdez impacted only 1,300 miles of coastline.  Twenty-seven thousand square miles — hard to imagine.

It's clear: the biggest threat we allegedly face, to which our Intelligence Community must direct its resources, is not White supremacy, mentioned only once in the report, but the climate crisis.

For one, I am glad to hear that some intelligence will finally be applied to uncovering and addressing this climate threat.  For a preview of that final report, I direct you to Walter Kelly.  "We have met the enemy, and he is us."  That's from Pogo on Earth Day 1971.

Anony Mee is a retired public servant.

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