DHS Anti-Terrorism Program Accused of Targeting Political Opponents

AP Photo/Moises Castillo

Welcome, dear reader, to the latest episode of “Your Government Is Using Your Money to Attack Conservative Media.” This one, as they say, will be a doozy. More information has surfaced detailing how the federal government has been paying various entities to help it label those expressing dissenting viewpoints as ultra-right wing terrorists salivating at the very thought of murdering marginalized people.

I’m only exaggerating by a smidge.

In case you’re not aware of this latest development, RedState’s Brittany Sheehan reported on yet another way the federal government is outsourcing its tyranny and using its power to target those who disagree with their views and policies.

Documents obtained by conservative watchdog group The Media Research Center (MRC) reveal that the Biden administration weaponized taxpayer dollars against mainstream conservative groups and the GOP. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded over $350,000 in grant funding in FY 2022 to a University of Dayton program, known as PREVENTS-OH, as part of the DHS’ Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program (TVTP).

DHS’ website describes the TVTP program’s mission as establishing or enhancing capabilities to prevent targeted violence and terrorism through creating modules on media literacy and online critical thinking and identifying the risks and protective factors to prevent ideologically-fueled violence.

A seminar was held at the University of Dayton’s Human Rights Center, where researcher Michael Loadenthal from the University of Cincinnati linked organizations such as the Republican National Committee (RNC), The American Conservative Union Foundation (CPAC Foundation), the Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association (NRA), and Fox News to radicalized fringe neo-Nazi paramilitary groups like The Base and the white supremacist website The Daily Stormer.

The presenter showed attendees a “Pyramid of Far-Right Radicalization,” which also included conservative media outlets like Breitbart News and the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), and groups like PragerU and Turning Point USA.

There are obviously several reasons why this program is problematic, with the most glaring issue being the explicit lumping together of mainstream conservative entities with hate groups and extremist publications. Equating the Republican Party, Christian broadcasting networks, and conservative think tanks with Nazi organizations only perpetuates a false narrative that demonizes legitimate political ideologies and undermines public discourse. Such categorizations not only stifle dissent but also fuel division, which appears to be the government’s objective in this instance.

Another issue with this program is the reality that the State Department is using the money it takes from folks like you and I to fund these propaganda hit jobs. It should be a foregone conclusion that programs such as this should focus only on the bad guys and not used to further a political agenda. But here we are, with the government engaging in conduct that would make J. Edgar Hoover beam with pride. In essence, the authoritarians in the government have managed to get we the people to pay entities to smear us as dangerous terrorists.

Lastly, the TVTP is a blatant assault on free speech. While it does not involve directly suppressing content or forcing people not to express their views, this program could have a chilling affect on those whose opinions contradict that of the state. Portraying conservative outlets as terrorist-adjacent, it could open them up to politically-motivated investigations conducted by the FBI or other federal agencies. Even further, it could provide more ammo for organizations like the Global Disinformation Index, a group that seeks to squash right-leaning opinions online by attacking their advertising revenue. The government labeling these outlets as extremist would only make it easier for this authoritarian group to sell companies on the idea that they should not advertise their products and services on conservative/libertarian websites.

Unfortunately, the federal government under the geriatric authoritarian in the White House, cares for none of these things. Their aim is not to address actual threats of domestic terrorism, but to attack political opposition. It’s the same tactic the White House used when the Justice Department colluded with a teacher’s union to label parents as “domestic terrorists” because they spoke out against problematic material being taught to young children in K-12 classrooms.

It is clear that the federal government is more interested in targeting political opposition than addressing genuine threats of domestic terrorism. Unfortunately, this will only lead to more abuse until there are people in office who are serious about putting a stop to it.


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