Federal intelligence and national security agencies — from the FBI to DHS — are in universal agreement that domestic extremism and terrorism is the leading threat to the U.S. homeland. But homeland security officials are also trained to be apolitical, so here’s what they can’t tell you: Donald J. Trump poses a significant threat to homeland security.
While generally highly decentralized and fractured, violent extremist groups have begun to mesh over a unifying figure: Trump. The former president has become a focal point of domestic extremism, and by not denouncing them — and sometimes courting them — he has been adopted by these groups as a de facto spiritual leader. In some ways, Trump has also co-opted these groups to boost his own support. This, in my assessment, makes the former president a leading driver of domestic extremism, and an unprecedented danger to our security. The indictment of Trump for his push to overturn the 2020 election puts that in stark relief.
I do not issue this assessment lightly. Such statements are considered blasphemy in domestic intelligence circles and will undoubtedly draw the ire of many both inside and outside of the profession.
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