News Release

Obama Administration Disavowed Report on Rightwing Violence


Johnson was the senior domestic terrorism analyst at the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Intelligence & Analysis from August 2004 to April 2010. In 2009, his report “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” [PDF] was released and then disavowed by the administration. Johnson is now owner of the law-enforcement consulting firm DT Analytics.

Available for a limited number of interviews, Johnson recently wrote for the New York Times: “Today, there are still literally hundreds of analysts throughout the U.S. government looking for Islamic terrorist threats, including from Al Qaeda and its affiliates, yet, there are mere dozens of federal government analysts looking at domestic non-Islamic extremists. This disparity needs to be rectified.

“In February, the White House held a summit on ‘Countering Violent Extremism.’ Its aim was to build awareness, counter extremist narratives and emphasize community-led intervention. The summit’s agenda, however, primarily focused on Islamic terrorism. A successful strategy for countering violent extremism must include all forms of radicalism, including that of far right extremists.” Johnson also wrote the piece “I Tried to Warn Them: I wrote the infamous report that led Homeland Security to gut its right-wing terrorism unit.”

RANIA KHALEK, raniakhalek at, @RaniaKhalek
Khalek recently wrote the piece “Expert: Obama ignored surge of rightwing extremism that inspired Charleston killer,” which states: “Johnson’s prophetic 2009 report predicted that the election of America’s first Black president coupled with an ailing economy would spark a resurgence in rightwing extremism, with ‘white supremacist lone wolves’ posing ‘the most significant domestic terrorist threat because of their low profile and autonomy — separate from any formalized group — which hampers warning efforts.’

“Johnson’s report also drew attention to the danger of extremists recruiting military veterans.

“Though intended exclusively for law enforcement, the report was leaked immediately after publication, generating a firestorm on the right.

“Whipped into a frenzy, conservative media outlets and Republican lawmakers mischaracterized the report as an Obama administration conspiracy to smear all conservatives as potentially violent extremists.

“In a stunning display of political cowardice, the Obama administration caved in to the pressure.

“Within days of the leak, newly appointed DHS secretary Janet Napolitano apologized for the report and Johnson’s DHS unit was slowly disbanded over the following year, leaving behind just one analyst to assess all non-Islamic extremist threats for DHS.

“Six years later, Johnson’s prescient warnings have been tragically vindicated again and again.

“In 2012, U.S. army veteran and neo-Nazi skinhead Wade Michael Page stormed into a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and fatally gunned down six worshippers.

“Last year, Frazier Glenn Miller, the former ‘grand dragon’ of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and a longtime anti-Semite, killed three people outside a Jewish community center in Overland Park, Kansas.

“Two months later, anti-government extremists Jerad and Amanda Miller killed three people in Las Vegas.”