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What kinds of groups get classified as “domestic threat organizations”?

A secret FBI report obtained by ABC News in 2005 shows 22 white supremacist organizations and other right-wing extremist hate groups are the targets of 338 active FBI field investigations. 

However, the Department of Homeland Security did not list such domestic organizations in a draft planning document of future threats to the nation’s security entitled “Integrated Planning Guidance, Fiscal Years 2005 – 2011.” But it did list domestic groups like the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front as terrorist threats. 

The report states that it does not consider such groups as Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad as threats to the homeland US, and does not think domestic radical Islamic groups “acting alone would pursue a major attack against the Homeland.”

With the subsequent creation of a network of fusion centers and the dramatic enlargement of the intelligence-gathering industry, the kinds of organizations and activity perceived as “threats” expanded exponentially.

But some dangerous groups now appear to be getting less attention. On June 7, 2011 The Washington Post reported that the Department of Homeland Security had responded to criticism from the right by cutting back on its monitoring of right-wing extremism.

© 2023 ACLU of Massachusetts.