White supremacists are the 'most persistent and lethal' internal threat to US, Chad Wolf tells Senate

The acting DHS secretary said that the US faces threats of election meddling from Russia, China and Iran. He said while Russia was trying to see Biden lose, China and Iran wanted Trump to lose


                            White supremacists are the 'most persistent and lethal' internal threat to US, Chad Wolf tells Senate
Chad Wolf (Getty Images)

Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf on Wednesday, September 23, said during a Senate hearing that White supremacists have emerged as the “most persistent and lethal” internal “threat” to the country. The 44-year-old Wolf, who has been heading the department since November and is likely to get the role officially, told the Senate: “White supremacist extremists, from a lethality standpoint over the last two years, particularly when you look at 2018 and 2019, are certainly the most persistent and lethal threat when we talk about domestic violent extremists.”

The Senate hearing came a few weeks after whistleblower Brian Murphy, a former principal deputy undersecretary in the Office of Intelligence and Analysis at the DHS, revealed about Wolf asking him to downplay information over the threat White supremacists posed along with the assessments of Russia’s interference in the upcoming presidential election to suit President Donald Trump’s agenda. 

President Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Murphy was allegedly asked to put blame on Leftist groups

CNN cited a source familiar with Murphy’s claims to say that Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, the senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary, tried to alter a report to squash the threat posed by the White supremacists and instead blamed the Leftist groups. Cuccinelli is also the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Murphy did not agree to do so and told Cuccinelli that such changes would mean “censorship” and “improper administration of an intelligence program”. He was allegedly demoted. Wolf denied the allegations during the hearing and said they were “patently false” and a “fabrication”. 

However, Wolf’s assessment on the White supremacist threat could put him at odds with President Trump and Attorney General William Barr who have alleged time and again that the US has come under attack by “Left-wing mobs” and Antifa demonstrators. The duo has also threatened to defund those American cities that have allegedly failed to rein in the violence-makers. The White Supremacist-versus-Antifa debate has intensified as cities across the US have seen violence taking over in the wake of the brutal death of George Floyd at the hands of cops in Minneapolis in May. 

According to Murphy’s complaints, Wolf and Cuccinelli asked him in multiple meetings that took place between May and July to “modify intelligence assessments to ensure they matched up with the public comments by Trump on the subject of ANTIFA and ‘anarchist’ groups.” The department’s stand over the threat of White supremacists was mired in controversy after leaked drafts of the “State of the Homeland Threat Assessment 2020” revealed that the department has changed the way it wrote about the issue. There have been similarities between what the drafts said and Wolf’s words uttered in the testimony.

Wolf also told the Senate that the US faces threats of election meddling from Russia, China and Iran. He said while Russia was trying to see Joe Biden lose the election, China and Iran wanted Trump to lose but added that there was no current intelligence input suggesting that any of the three nations carried out an attack. Recently, the intelligence community also came up with a similar observation though Trump did not give it much importance. 

Recently, Federal Bureau of Investigation head Chris Wray said at a congressional hearing that like in 2016, Russia remained “very active” in its efforts to “influence” America’s election. His viewpoints did not go down well with Trump who said China is a “FAR greater threat than Russia, Russia, Russia.”