President Donald Trump is radicalizing impressional youth in the United States in a similar way a radical Islamic Mullar radicalizes young people, a former assistant director of the FBI explained on MSNBC on Saturday.
“As details emerge, this manifesto, this screed, whatever you want to call it, you’re going to be increasingly be convinced that today’s shooting was an act of terrorism,” Frank Figliuzzi said hours after a 21-year-old white nationalist opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, killing 20 and injuring another 26 people.
“I say that because of the similarities between what we’ve seen with Islamic violent extremism and online radicalization and what we’re seeing now in this hate-filled movement in the United States,” he explained.
“We have a hate problem, Yes, we have a gun problem. Yes, we have a violence problem, but we have a developing hate problem and it is race-based and if as soon as they confirm that this posting is indeed the shooter’s posting, well, we should feel free to call what it it is and that is terrorism,” he continued.
“Let’s understand something, this administration that we’re in needs to come out and intervene. What do I mean by that? If you’re on the Islamic extremism side, you’ve got that cleric radicalizing that young person online. He’s the father figure, giving the license, he’s facilitating and enabling. What we need is the similar figure — the president — to come out and say, once this is confirmed, ‘I stand for something other than hate, I rebuke all the hatred going on here.’ Until we see the person do that, that’s giving the license, we’ll continue to have this hate problem,” Figliuzzi said.
“About half the FBI’s terrorism cases right now, as we speak, are actually this stuff, the domestic stuff,” he added. “That is extremely disturbing.”
Just four days earlier, Figliuzzi penned an op-ed in the New York Times, where he warned “we’re headed for trouble in the form of white hate violence stoked by a racially divisive president.”
If I learned anything from 25 years in the F.B.I., including a stint as head of counterintelligence, it was to trust my gut when I see a threat unfolding. Those of us who were part of the post-Sept. 11 intelligence community had a duty to sound the alarm about an impending threat.
Now, instinct and experience tell me we’re headed for trouble in the form of white hate violence stoked by a racially divisive president. I hope I’m wrong.
Since October, the F.B.I. has made 90 arrests in domestic terrorism cases. Domestic terrorism includes violence by Americans who belong to anti-government militias, white supremacist groups or individuals who ascribe to similar ideologies not connected to Islamic extremism. In fact, the F.B.I. says that of its 850 pending domestic terror investigations, about 40 percent involve racially motivated extremism. In 2017 and 2018, the F.B.I. made more arrests connected to domestic terror than to international terrorism, which includes groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State and their lone-wolf recruits.
Last weekend, a young man with a rifle took the lives of three people and injured at least a dozen others at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival in California. Preliminary reports indicated that among the gunman’s social media postings was an exhortation to read the obscure 1890 novel “Might Is Right,” which justifies racism and asserts that people of color are biologically inferior.
That same weekend, President Trump lashed out via Twitter at a black congressman, Representative Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat. As he has before, the president expressed his wrath with a message aimed at dividing us along racial lines. Mr. Cummings is chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which recently voted to authorize additional subpoenas for senior White House officials’ communications.