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Rose Leads Dozens of House Dems in Asking State Dept: Why Aren’t White Supremacist Groups Listed as Foreign Terrorist Organizations?

Congressman names three foreign white supremacist groups that have been cited for ties to terrorist attacks but are not included on State Dept. list, hampering law enforcement

Congressman Max Rose, Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, led a letter with 39 other Members of Congress to the Secretary of State today demanding answers as to why white supremacist extremist groups are not included on the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).  The Congressman’s letter follows the attack on a German synagogue last week which mirrored terrorist attacks on a synagogue in Poway, Calif. and a grocery store in El Paso, Texas that were inspired by foreign white supremacist groups, as was the Christchurch, New Zealand attack that killed fifty-one people.

“Today, if an American citizen swears allegiance to the Islamic State (or another Foreign Terrorist Organization on the list) and spreads their message of terror, there are several resources available to the Federal government to counter the threat,” wrote Rose and 39 Members of Congress in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “However, if that same American citizen swears allegiance to a violent white supremacist extremist group based overseas and spreads their message of terror, the Federal government does not have access to the same tools.”

The Department of Homeland Security recently said in a new strategy report unveiled last month that, “White supremacist violent extremism, one type of racially- and ethnically-motivated violent extremism, is one of the most potent forces driving domestic terrorism.” Rose’s letter names Azov Battalion, Nordic Resistance Movement, and National Action as three examples of foreign groups that have been connected to recent terrorist attacks around the world as well as recruiting and influencing American citizens.

The letter continues, “As you know, the State Department’s criteria for inclusion on the FTO list are simple: be a foreign organization, engage in or retain the capability and intent to engage in terrorism, and threaten the security of US nationals or the national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests of the United States. There are numerous examples of foreign white nationalist groups that fit these conditions. The American people deserve an explanation as to why these groups are not included on the FTO list.”

Rose, an Army combat veteran, recently chaired a joint hearing on the challenge of white nationalist terrorism at home and abroad titled “Meeting the Challenge of White Nationalist Terrorism at Home and Abroad”. The hearing was a joint effort with the Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism and shed new light on the growing threat of domestic terrorists inspire by white supremacist groups abroad.

As Chairman of the House Subcommittee of Intelligence and Counterterrorism, Rose has been consistent in keeping his focus on international and domestic terrorism including working in close cooperation with the NYPD, calling on social media companies to work more closely with law enforcement to prevent the spread of terrorist content on their platforms, increasing counterterrorism funding to New York City, and getting Facebook to ban links on its platform to terrorist content. Additionally, Rose was successful in pressuring social media companies to formalize and transform the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) into a standalone, non-profit institution with full-time staff.

Full text of letter HERE.