In what is being billed as an effort to thwart domestic terrorism, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the return of the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, a task force initially created after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. But Holder's statement announcing the move have prompted concerns from many, including the ACLU, that the government is set to target critics and those it deems racist or politically incorrect, the Western Center for Journalism reported Monday.
The task force was disbanded after the 2001 terrorist attack as authorities focused on threats from outside the country. But it now appears the administration is looking to target those it deems "dangerous" -- and its seem to be focusing primarily on American citizens critical of current government policies.
“We must also concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice,” Holder said in his announcement.
According to Holder, the board that will determine what is politically-acceptable speech will consist of officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice and the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee.
Horace Cooper, co-chairman of the black conservative group Project 21, called it an attempt to marginalize those whose views run contrary to the administration and its allies.
"We’re particularly bothered by mixing together so-called domestic insurrectionists and racists,” he said. “There is simply no anti-black or anti-minority underground movement in America that is threatening in any way the stability of our government or the stability of local governments.”
Cooper also demanded the administration produce data to back up Holder's claim, but, he added, he knows no such data exists.
“In our organization’s view,” he added, “this is done – particularly in the racial component – to create the false impression to minority communities that it is the Obama administration that is here to help them and another reason why, with all of the economic failings that they have provided to Americans generally and minorities in particular, they should continue to consider giving away their vote to that particular administration.”
According to Reuters, even the ACLU -- hardly a conservative Tea Party organization -- is concerned the project may improperly target those with certain political viewpoints.
"Attorney General Holder’s announcement that the new task force will focus on evidence of anti-government animus and racial intolerance raises concerns that it could be a sweeping mandate to monitor and collect controversial speech,” ACLU staff attorney Lee Rowland said.
The ACLU, Reuters added, said it plans to "engage with the Justice Department to ensure the effort does not lead to racial profiling or other bias targeting of individuals who may be wrongfully suspected of having violent intentions."
A post at Flopping Aces calls the effort part of Obama's ongoing "jihad on white people."
"The Tea Party is a threat to national security, the GOP is a threat, the NRA is a threat, returning vets are a threat," the blog said. "And every one of them is racist. Just ask Eric Holder and Barack Obama. Thus it is critical to be sure they lose their voices in the electoral process in this country. Barack Obama will have then made good on his promise to fundamentally change the US."
Cooper said the administration's plan to shift resources away from the very real threat to one that is theoretical is "harmful to the safety of Americans and is more about a political agenda than it is in protecting Americans.”