Southern Poverty Law Center Warns of Growing Domestic Terrorism Threat, Urges Government to Take Action

Domestic Terrorism--Oklahoma City Bombing

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has written a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano warning of the increasing threat of domestic terrorism, specifically from radical right-wing extremist groups. The letter begins, “On October 25, 1994, six months before the Oklahoma City bombing, we wrote Attorney General Janet Rento about the growing threat of domestic terrorism. Today, we write to express similar concerns.”

According to the SPLC, “the number of conspiracy-minded antigovernment ‘Patriot’ groups on the American radical right reached an all-time high in 2012, the fourth consecutive year of powerful growth by a movement that is becoming increasingly militant”. There were over 1,300 Patriot groups in 2012, an increase of more than 800% since 2008. The resurgence of this movement, “as well as the broader radical right, has been fueled by the election of America’s first black president, the troubled economy, and non-white immigration.”

Due to the growing threat and possible dangers, the SPLC is urging the government “to establish an interagency task force to assess the adequacy of the resources devoted to responding to the growing threat of non-Islamic domestic terrorism.”

As stated by SPLC President J. Richard Cohen in the letter, “[t]he resources devoted to countering domestic hate and radical antigovernment groups and those they may inspire do not appear commensurate with the threat. [….] [W]e believe it is time to take a fresh look at the issue.”

The letter to Attorney General Holder and Secretary Napolitano accompanies a new report released by the SPLC on the state of hate and extremism in the United States. The report can be found in the Spring 2013 issue of the Center’s ‘Intelligence Report’ journal. In addition, the Center has created an interactive Hate Map where individuals can view active hate groups in the country, organized by state.

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