When it comes to the fight against domestic terrorism and extremism, Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick is nothing if not consistent. It’s just not the consistency voters might be hoping for, unless of course they are white supremacists or neo-Nazis.
Just two months after voting against the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022, the co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force for Combatting Anti-semitism voted against an amendment Wednesday that would mandate federal agencies to monitor and act against growing white supremacist and neo-Nazi activities within the military and federal law enforcement agencies.
The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), sponsored by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), passed on a party-line vote. It “direct[s] the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Defense to publish a report that analyzes and sets out strategies to combat White supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in the uniformed services and Federal law enforcement agencies not later than 180 days after enactment and every six months thereafter.”
The Republican attack on this measure, as reported by The Hill, is to deny the problem even exists.
“This amendment attempts to create a problem where none exists by requesting investigations into law enforcement and the armed services for alleged rampant white supremacists or white national sympathies,” said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) on the House floor.
The problem is that it does exist. And the government has known this for years.
READ: One in Five Applicants to White Supremacist Patriot Front Group Tied to US Military
For example, the FBI, who Fitzpatrick used to work for, issued an intelligence assessment raising alarms back in 2008 entitled “White Supremacist Recruitment of Military Personnel since 9/11.” It found that:
“Military experience is found throughout the white supremacist extremist movement as the result of recruitment campaigns by extremist groups and self-recruitment by veterans sympathetic to white supremacist causes. Extremist leaders seek to recruit members with military experience in order to exploit their discipline, knowledge of firearms, explosives, and tactical skills and access to weapons and intelligence.”
The problem persists today because of inaction and lawmakers like Fitzpatrick. Trying to uproot extremism from the military and law enforcement shouldn’t be controversial.
In 2019, a Military Times reader survey of active duty subscribers found that “more than one-third of all active-duty troops and more than half of minority service members say they have personally witnessed examples of white nationalism or ideological-driven racism within the ranks.”
Then in 2021, Roll Call obtained a copy of a Pentagon report that warned of the inroads white supremacists were making in the military. The October 2020 report, now public, notes:
“DoD is facing a threat from domestic extremists (DE), particularly those who espouse white supremacy or white nationalist ideologies. Some domestic extremist/terror groups (a) actively attempt to recruit military personnel into their group or cause, (b) encourage their members to join the military, or (c) join, themselves, for the purpose of acquiring combat and tactical experience. Military members are highly prized by these groups as they bring legitimacy to their causes and enhance their ability to carry out attacks. In addition to potential violence, white supremacy and white nationalism pose a threat to the good order and discipline within the military. Service members are prohibited from participating in or advocating for supremacist and other extremist ideology.”
More recently, in May, the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency issued a report, “The Insider Threat and Extremist Activity Within the DoD.”
White supremacist, neo-Nazi, and other extremist infiltration of military and law enforcement is an obvious problem that needs solving. Our nation’s security depends on it. It is unfortunate, though not surprising, that Rep. Fitzpatrick is prioritizing bitter partisanship over what’s best for our country.