DHS is theoretically tasked with defending the general public towards threats just like the far proper militia group.
A brand new investigation finds that lots of of individuals on membership rolls for the far proper group the Oath Keepers are present or former workers of the Division of Homeland Safety (DHS) — the company theoretically tasked with defending the general public towards extremist right-wing actions.
Based on a report by the Challenge on Authorities Oversight (POGO) and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Challenge (OCCRP), over 300 members on Oath Keepers membership roles have labored for DHS. These members have labored for DHS branches like Border Patrol, Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Secret Service.
The checklist is from 2015, and is probably going not totally complete in displaying the pervasiveness of far proper teams in security-related authorities companies. Among the members on the checklist, when contacted, denied Oath Keepers membership or mentioned they’ve let their membership lapse; authorities insiders say, nonetheless, that the checklist is simply the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the overlap between harmful far proper teams and authorities companies like DHS.
The Oath Keepers is a far proper militia that has aligned itself with fashionable extremist right-wing actions being pushed by the Republican Social gathering. It has traditionally had an anti-government stance, although lately members have posed as safety for far right political figures tied to leaders like Donald Trump, or have provided to take action.
Such an overlap at DHS is of specific concern as a result of the company is tasked with defending towards far proper threats. POGO and OCCRP particularly checked out DHS as a result of workers throughout the company typically have entry to categorised intelligence about teams just like the Oath Keepers.
Federal regulation enforcement workers “have entry to federal intelligence that pertains to far-right navy teams and subsequently may need details about lively investigations or personnel throughout the Oath Keepers,” Mike German, a former FBI agent who has infiltrated far proper and white supremacist teams, advised POGO and OCCRP.
As such, the presence of Oath Keepers members inside DHS may at finest symbolize a battle of curiosity for workers and at worst be used as a software for teams just like the Oath Keepers to keep away from scrutiny from the federal authorities and function with impunity.
Certainly, because the report notes, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who together with a number of different Oath Keepers has been convicted of seditious conspiracy for his function within the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol, as soon as wrote of the worth of this relationship. “It’s males like this on the within who can and do present info to show what’s occurring,” he wrote on the group’s weblog in 2009.
Such harmful extremism within the fingers of individuals tasked with highly effective safety jobs may have dire penalties. For example, reporters have uncovered that because the January 6 assault was in progress and Congress was making ready to certify the outcomes of the 2020 election, Secret Service brokers had tried to take away then-Vice President Mike Pence from the Capitol. Pence refused to depart, but when he had been taken away, it may have affected the certification of the outcomes of the presidential election, which is presided over by the vp.
The Secret Service additionally sat on info associated to the January 6 assault, failing to ship info on threats towards essential political figures to Capitol Police or different companies till it was too late to arrange, experiences have discovered.
The Oath Keepers’ overlap with companies inside DHS is ideologically in line with the way in which that many of those companies function. Border Patrol and ICE perform the U.S.’s most merciless anti-immigration insurance policies, as an example. As one Border Patrol agent wrote, per the report, “Most Border Patrol Brokers are Oath Keepers, we simply haven’t signed up but.”