Democracy dies in DHS? #DeepStateDiaries show proposed 9/11 reboot against domestic wrongthink

Trump supporters, military members and religious people more likely to be domestic terrorists, according to since-disbanded Homeland Intelligence Experts Group's notes.

Published: June 24, 2024 11:00pm

Updated: June 26, 2024 12:03pm

With polling consistently suggesting most Americans fear for the future of democracy depending on the winner of the 2024 presidential election, and that democracy tops concerns for single-issue voters, internal meeting notes from a Department of Homeland Security panel suggest the Biden administration fears the wrong kind of democracy.

America First Legal, founded by former Trump White House adviser Stephen Miller, is dribbling out redacted "#DeepStateDiaries" handed over by DHS to resolve AFL's litigation alleging that last year's creation of the Homeland Intelligence Experts Group, also disbanded under the settlement, violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act because of its heavy partisan tilt.

The advisory group to DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis and Office of the Counterterrorism Coordinator included two Obama administration proponents of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and 98% of its members' political donations went to Democrats, AFL claims.

Group members identified a disproportionate number of Americans as proper targets of surveillance and intelligence collection due to their likelihood of becoming "domestic violent extremists": supporters of now-presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, the "religious" and members of the military, according to snippets of notes released by AFL.

Internal discussions included getting parents to report their children to the feds for alleged extremism and teachers to report their students, by reclassifying it as a "public health" issue, the notes show. 

Members also brainstormed reframing DHS's "See Something, Say Something" campaign after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which they conceded largely failed to convince Americans to report potential terrorist threats, as "See Something, Help Someone" to get Americans to report purportedly extremist neighbors.

The latest tranche, released Monday, includes discussions on using the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot to justify intelligence "[c]ollection based on sites where they [analysts] expect to see indicators [of extremism]," referring to speech online.

This circumvents First Amendment restrictions on targeting "a particular person for a particular reason," the notes say, acknowledging that prior to the riot, analysts were wary of such collection and the FBI had "cultural inhibitions" against collecting "actionable intelligence" that could have predicted the riot.

Another discussion refers to the raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago compound and "reason to be concerned about a violent reaction," to justify expanded surveillance, according to AFL.

The documents "prove there is a pronounced difference between how I&A operated … before and after January 6," the legal group said. "They demonstrate how the standards followed under the Trump administration to respect Constitutional rights and civil liberties are apparently no longer followed under the Biden administration."

DHS did not respond to Just the News queries for its response to AFL's characterization of the internal notes and how the Homeland Intelligence Experts Group's proposals would not be a threat to democracy.

The notes echo the Biden administration's characterization of common political views as a threat to national security, from the Justice Department's tacit conflation of parental protests at school board meetings with "domestic terrorism" to a longtime FBI employee's top-secret security clearance review.

FBI officials subjected the employee to a political litmus test, asking witnesses whether he was known to support former President Trump, had expressed concerns about COVID-19 vaccines or had attended a Second Amendment rally, months before revoking his security clearance, Just the News reported earlier this month.

House Weaponization of the Federal Government Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, responded by asking Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate the alleged use of political litmus tests to push out conservative employees and demanded an explanation for the politicized questions from FBI Director Christopher Wray.

While protecting democracy is a talking point associated with the political left, especially in the context of Trump's alleged threats to voting rights and separation of powers, a national survey of likely General Election voters this month suggests more Americans see the criminal prosecution of the presumptive Republican nominee as a threat than a boon to democracy.

Polling firm Cygnal found 39% believe Trump's convictions in the hush-money trial will weaken democracy, and 35% believe it will strengthen democracy. The gap is slightly bigger between those whose trust in the legal system decreased after the convictions (42%) versus increased (37%).

While just under half saw the legal proceedings as legitimate compared to a "witch hunt" (45%), the former fell by 4 percentage points and the latter rose by the same amount from the prior month, Cygnal said.

The intensity of Trump's unfavorability rating actually fell after his convictions, and his lead expanded in a one-to-one matchup against President Biden, making strong month-to-month gains with black voters as well as college-educated men and women, Cygnal found.

"For the first time since February, the Republican Party is not seen as more extreme than the Democrat[ic] Party," Cygnal said. The GOP narrowed a 31-point gap with Democrats on which party is more extreme to black voters by 25 points in May alone.

AFL said the #DeepStateDiaries show the Homeland Intelligence Experts Group had been meeting for up to four months before DHS announced its creation. 

Though the feds redacted names in the production, AFL speculated a DHS official was speaking in a seeming complaint that "state and local partners" were not mandated to report alleged extremism to the department, resulting in "limited access" to this information.

A bullet point refers to "challenges" from civil liberties and privacy concerns, and another asks how the feds can "get into local communities in a non-threatening way" to convince people to "safely" snitch on neighbors they might consider extreme.

"We see people who go off the rails," another speaker said. "We need people to say something" and "a nationwide campaign to push it to the locals." Yet another asked whether DHS could use the "industry ecosystem" of companies "internally collecting open sources, and a speaker believed to be DHS responded, "We can collect it" if the collection is lawful and the manner disclosed.

One speaker bluntly identifies "supporters of the former president" as "most" of the domestic terrorism threat. Another said "we should be more worried" about religious and military people because "researchers" associate them more with "extremists and terrorism."

The only pages of the production released in full by AFL as of Monday, as opposed to screenshots of discussions, show grousing about congressional pushback on DHS's secretive Overt Human Intelligence Collection Program, the subject of an expose by Politico a year ago.

A committee markup led by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., had stripped DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis to "intentionally collect" intelligence on U.S. persons except for information gathered by state, local, tribal, or territorial entities, and it was passed in the National Defense Authorization Act.

"Always having a foreign nexus" to justify intelligence collection "is not consistent with statutory orders or mission," the notes say. 

Another speaker says "You" – apparently meaning DHS – had been criticized alongside the FBI for not being able to predict the Jan. 6 riot, yet the congressional response was to "take away the authority that you have, rather than insist you use them." The FBI had testified "they do not think they have authority to do it." 

This shows a group member urging the DHS component to "lean into using practices" disavowed by the FBI, rejected by the Senate and "generally oppose[d]" by Congress, AFL said.

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