Terror study group finds "sovereign citizens" and "militia/patriot groups" among greatest threat to US

The nation’s law enforcement agencies, from local cops all the way to the Department of Homeland Security, are always on the lookout for terrorist threats, and that includes at home as well as in far flung deserts and mountains. And they’re collecting data on all sorts of groups. What may come as a surprise is that, if you’re a regular reader of Hot Air or many other similar outlets, you might be one of the people they are watching! A new report this summer from a group of university analysts has identified the chief concerns of law enforcement agents at all levels, and some of them might surprise you. (A hat tip for locating this report goes to Crooks and Liars who apparently discovered it.)

First, law enforcement perceptions about what is a serious threat in their community has changed significantly over time. Law enforcement is much more concerned about sovereign citizens, Islamic extremists, and militia/patriot group members compared to the fringe groups of the far right, including Christian Identity believers, reconstructed traditionalists (i.e., Odinists), idiosyncratic sectarians (i.e., survivalists), and members of doomsday cults. In fact, sovereign citizens were the top concern of law enforcement, but the concern about whether most groups were a serious terrorist threat actually declined for most groups (e.g., the KKK; Christian Identity; Neo-Nazis; Racist Skinheads; Extremist Environmentalists; Extreme Animal Rights Extremists).

Wow. There’s a lot to wrap your head around just in that one paragraph from the Executive Summary portion of the report. It would seem that militia/patriot groups are up on the top shelf with Islamic extremists. Also interesting are the groups who are identified as “fringe” while not getting top billing. Who knew that Christian Identity believers made the cut? (I’m still not entirely sure what that phrase means in this context, even after several Google searches.) And Odinists? Is Odin still a thing?

On a related note, it’s good to see that they are less worried about “Extreme Animal Rights Extremists.” Man… those guys must be really extreme.

The fact that law enforcement is looking at the Sovereign Citizens is nothing new, as demonstrated in this FBI report from 2011.

They could be dismissed as a nuisance, a loose network of individuals living in the United States who call themselves “sovereign citizens” and believe that federal, state, and local governments operate illegally. Some of their actions, although quirky, are not crimes. The offenses they do commit seem minor, like creating false license plates, driver’s licenses, and even currency.

However, a closer look at sovereign citizens’ more severe crimes, from financial scams to impersonating or threatening law enforcement officials, gives reason for concern. If someone challenges (e.g., a standard traffic stop for false license plates) their ideology, the behavior of these sovereign-citizen extremists quickly can escalate to violence. Since 2000, lone-offender sovereign-citizen extremists have killed six law enforcement officers. In 2010, two Arkansas police officers stopped sovereign-citizen extremists Jerry Kane and his 16-year-old son Joseph during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 40. Joseph Kane jumped out of the vehicle and opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle, killing both officers.

The sovereign-citizen threat likely will grow as the nationwide movement is fueled by the Internet, the economic downturn, and seminars held across the country that spread their ideology and show people how they can tap into funds and eliminate debt through fraudulent methods. As sovereign citizens’ numbers grow, so do the chances of contact with law enforcement and, thus, the risks that incidents will end in violence. Law enforcement and judicial officials must understand the sovereign-citizen movement, be able to identify indicators, and know how to protect themselves from the group’s threatening tactics.

As you prepare to figure out whether or not you’re on the terror watch list, it’s important to remember just what this report is and is not. While the name “Homeland Security” is all over it, the report does not come from DHS. It was prepared by a group of university professors and was submitted to Homeland Security for consideration.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) is supported in part by the Science and Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through a Center of Excellence program based at the University of Maryland…

The authors of this report are David Carter, Ph.D. , Michigan State University ; Steve Chermak, Ph.D. , Michigan State University; Jeremy Carter, Ph.D., Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis; Jack Drew, Michigan State University.

So, citizens, (other than the Sovereign sort, of course) be on the lookout for the dangerous radicals. Particularly the Odinists. You can never trust those Odin worshipers. Half of them are in league with Freyja, and that’s just asking for trouble.