When Trevor Bickford's mother called police in Wells, Maine, with concerns about her son's growing obsession with Islam, Wells police captain Gerald Congdon notified the FBI, which purportedly put Bickford on its so-called Guardian Watchlist. That didn't stop him from allegedly attacking NYPD officers with a machete on New Year's Eve in an attempt to "carry out jihad." If only she had told authorities that she was concerned about her son's growing obsession with white supremacism, the attack might have been thwarted. That's because the FBI and the Biden administration (it's getting harder to distinguish one from the other) have been laser-focused for the last two years on white, MAGA, QAnon types while downplaying all others, including jihadist sympathizers.
Biden's national security "experts," such as DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who incredibly claims that "the Southern border is under control," and Attorney General Merrick Garland, who treats parents who object to their children's school curricula as domestic terrorists, are obsessed with the same villains that the Obama administration chased.
The first terrorism assessment of the Obama administration came on April 7, 2009. Titled "Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," it marked the end of the George W. Bush–Tom Ridge era at DHS and the beginning of the Barack Obama–Janet Napolitano era. The assessment (a product of "the Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division . . . Coordinated with the FBI") revealed that the Obama administration's terrorism priorities would home in on "disgruntled" U.S. military veterans, new gun-control measures, "white supremacist lone wolves," and any extremists "expressing concerns about the election of the first African American president." Joe Biden's counterterrorism priorities rely on the same approach.
On March 1, 2021, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released an unclassified executive summary titled "Domestic Violent Extremism Poses Heightened Threat in 2021." The document (which introduced the acronym "RMVE," for "racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist"), concludes that "RMVEs who promote the superiority of the white race" constitute the most significant domestic threat in America.
On June 15, 2021, the White House hyped its new plan, titled "National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism," asserting that the administration, which had "consulted extensively with a wide array of experts across the U.S. Government," would work to "address concerning or threatening behavior before violence occurs."
The full National Strategy document is obsessed with white supremacists, "assault weapons and high-capacity magazines," and "service members separating or retiring from the military." Were this assessment correct, the news in 2021 and 2022 would have been all about KKK-inspired militias, white-on-non-white crime, and former military members attacking minorities.
But the grim reality of the past two years calls this strategy into question. While white supremacists, such as the Buffalo Tops shooter, are undoubtedly a threat, a brief sampling of the extremist violence during the first half of Biden's presidency shows that our domestic dangers haven't migrated into that single category.
On April 4, 2021, four weeks after the DNI released its threat assessment, 25-year-old Noah Green, who, according to the Nation of Islam, had started though did not complete "his study to become a member" of the organization, killed Capitol Hill Police Officer William Evans with his car and wounded another officer.
In June 2021, Justin Tyran Roberts went on a two-state shooting spree. Upon capture (three days before the National Security Council released its National Strategy), he told police he "was motivated by race and intentionally targeted 'military-looking' white men."
Another killer who defied the white-supremacist profile, Darrell Brooks Jr., rammed his car into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wis., on November 21, 2021, killing six and injuring 61 people.
On January 15, 2022, an Islamist named Malik Akram took hostages at the Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, hoping to gain the release of Aafia Siddiqui, aka "Lady al-Qaeda."
Quintez Brown, a BLM "activist," is in federal prison and awaiting trial, accused of attempting to murder Craig Greenberg, a white candidate running for mayor of Louisville, Ky.
Frank James, the RMVE who shot multiple people on the N train in Brooklyn last April, has a social-media history of racist, anti-white hatred, posting, for example, the sentence "O black Jesus, please kill all the whiteys."
And what about left-wing violence? Whoever is destroying property at pregnancy centers across the nation under the name "Jane's Revenge" and doxxing Supreme Court members under the name "Ruth Sent Us" don't fit the right-wing extremist profile. Nor did the man on a mission to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Nor do many of those attacking Asians in New York City.
The Biden experts need to diversify their threat assessments, and soon. Until then, the next time a mother suspects her son is preparing to launch a jihad attack, she should tell the police that he's contemplating a white supremacist attack or that he was in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. Chances are, the FBI will pay attention.
A.J. Caschetta is a Ginsberg-Milstein fellow at the Middle East Forum and a principal lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology.