WASHINGTON — In April 2009, a senior Homeland Security intelligence analyst named Daryl Johnson wrote an internal report warning that right-wing extremism was on the rise within the United States and that it may result in violence.
The report leaked, and the backlash was swift. Republican lawmakers were furious. Veterans advocates criticized a piece elevating issues about service members returning with post-traumatic stress. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized for elements of it, and the unit in the end was dissolved.
Nearly 11 years later, a mob of right-wing extremists, spurred by President Donald Trump, stormed the U.S. Capitol in a lethal riot that highlighted the magnitude of the menace.
“This Capitol insurrection that we just had last week — some people were like OK, this is the climax of the story. No, it’s not. This is ushering in a new phase of violence and hostility,” Johnson mentioned in an interview. “This isn’t the final chapter of a movement that’s dying out.”
A transcript follows, flippantly edited for size and readability.
NBC NEWS: Take me again to 2009. What have been you seeing that prompted you to jot down this report?
JOHNSON: In January of 2007, Capitol Police tipped us off that Barack Obama, a senator from Illinois, was going to announce his candidacy for president. We all knew that was going to be the worst-case state of affairs for white supremacists. They mentioned it might be the low level in America while you had “a black” occupy the White House — that was sort of of their literature.
When he received the Democratic nomination, we began seeing white supremacist teams lashing out and threatening him. That, coupled with the housing bubble bursting in ’08, left lot of individuals underwater financially — they began on the lookout for scapegoats for his or her issues.
NBC NEWS: And you did not publicize this report, however it received out.
JOHNSON: We disseminated it to police, after which it received leaked. We wrote up the report, it went by way of 23 revisions, received vetted in any respect ranges, coordinated it with the FBI, went and briefed Janet Napolitano a few days earlier than it was disseminated. When I used to be headed residence that day, my department chief, my quick supervisor, talked about what a terrific briefing it was, and he or she was listening to a number of optimistic suggestions. Then three days later, all hell broke free.
NBC NEWS: Let’s fast-forward to the current. According to former Trump-era DHS official Elizabeth Neumann, “In the last 10 years, 76 % of terrorist assaults have come from the correct wing in our nation.” Do you’re feeling validated by the warnings you set out on the time?