Assistant Attorney General John Carlin has finally acknowledged what the Progressive media has been saying for years: Domestic terrorists are a greater danger to Americans than foreign terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda or ISIS. The figures support Carlin’s statement. In the fourteen-year period between October 2001 and June of 2015, twice as many Americans died as a result of right-wing extremist terrorist activity than from Muslim jihadists. In response, the Department of Justice is finally authorizing the creation of a new position for addressing domestic terrorism.

Carlin, who heads up the DoJ’s national security division, has been focused primarily on ISIS, a large organization. However, Carlin acknowledges that white supremacists – primarily disaffected individuals, acting on their own without any organizational ties – are a “clear and present danger” to public safety. Addressing a group at George Washington University on October 14th, Carlin said these individuals are driven by “anti-government views, racism, bigotry and anarchy, and other despicable beliefs.”  Threats from such individuals are expected to increase as the percentage of Americans identifying themselves as white continues to shrink over the next several years.

Earlier this year, former Attorney General Eric Holder pointed out that “as a nation, we as a people have not focused on the domestic threat. We have thought that the threat is from without, and that the threat to the extent that it exists within the nation is only based on ideologies that come from outside of the United States.” Holder re-established the Committee on Domestic Terrorism under the auspices of the DoJ in the spring of 2014.

The new Domestic Terrorism Counsel will be the “main point of contact” for federal prosecutors across the country. The objective will be to “identify trends to help shape our strategy, and to analyze legal gaps or enhancements required to ensure we can combat these threats,” according to Carlin.

Those “legal gaps” are part of the current problem. ISIS and Al-Qaeda have been designated as “terror organizations” by the federal government. Because of this, laws are in place that make providing material support and assistance to these groups a criminal offense. Presently, however, there are no corresponding statutes that apply to groups such as the Aryan Nation or Ku Klux Klan. “’Domestic terrorism’ is not an offense or [criminal] charge,” Carlin points out. As a result, it has been necessary for federal prosecutors to go after domestic terrorists and organizations on charges such as arson, murder or hate crimes.

Carlin stops short of recommending that domestic groups be designated as terrorist organizations, though such a designation would enable prosecutors to file charges based on providing “material support.”   Nonetheless, Carlin’s acknowledgment of the problem and his actions in creating the Domestic Terrorism Counsel is a major step toward dealing with the most serious security threats we face as a nation: the enemies among us.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.