While working as a senior analyst in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2009, Johnson authored a report warning about the increasing dangers of violent right-wing extremism in the United States, sparking a political firestorm in the process. Under pressure from Republican lawmakers and popular talk show hosts, DHS ultimately repudiated Johnson’s paper. Johnson drew his conclusion on his 15 years of experience studying domestic terrorist groups — particularly white supremacists and neo-Nazis. […]
AMY GOODMAN: And so what happened to you, Daryl Johnson, and your unit within the Department of Homeland Security that was looking at domestic terror threats and particularly at white supremacy and neo-Nazi groups?
DARYL JOHNSON: What happened was quite shocking actually. I never anticipated that the Department of Homeland Security, my employer, would actually clamp down on the unit and stop all of the valuable work we were doing. Leading up to this report, and I will talk about this at length in my book, my team was doing a lot of good things throughout the country. We received numerous accolades from law enforcement, intelligence officials, talking about the great work we were doing in the fight against domestic terrorism. Then in lieu of the political backlash, the department decided to not only stop all of our work, stop all of the training and briefings that we were scheduled to give; but they also disbanded the unit, reassigned us to other areas within the office and then made life increasingly difficult for us. Not only did they stop the work that we were doing, but they also tried to blame us for some of the attacks that were occurring. […]
AMY GOODMAN: I’m looking at a quick piece from Wired which says, “Since Johnson released his ill-fated report, the Witchita, Kansas, abortion doctor, George Teller, was assinated. A security guard was killed when a gunman with neo-Nazi ties went on a shooting spree at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, the FBI arrested members of a Florida neo-Nazi outfit tied to drug dealing and motorcycle gangs, a man was charged with attempting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction at a Spokane, Washington, march commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday and several mosques around the country have been vandalized or attacked, including a Missouri mosque that burned to the ground on Monday, which had been attacked before. Were you surprised by the attack on the Sikh temple and all that has taken place since?
DARYL JOHNSON: Unfortunately, Amy, I was not shocked. In fact, I was sitting in my living room with my wife and immediately when I saw the news coverage, I turned to her and said that this was likely a hate motivated crime against Sikhs perpetrated by a white supremacist who may have had military background.