The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a University of Maryland project funded by the Department of Homeland Security, has designated the so-called sovereign citizen movement as the number one domestic terrorist threat in America.
Sovereign citizens do not constitute a cohesive movement, although the government characterizes them as such. The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates around 100,000 Americans were “hard-core sovereign believers” in 2010 and an additional 200,000 were “just starting out by testing sovereign techniques for resisting everything from speeding tickets to drug charges.”
The SPLC works with the DHS to formulate the terrorist threat posed by citizens allegedly belonging to the sovereign citizen movement.
According to a report by issued by START last month, “sovereign citizens were the top concern of law sovereign enforcement” and ranked ahead of neo-Nazis, the KKK, the patriot movement, and other “idiosyncratic sectarians,” including survivalists, all who allegedly pose a threat to the police and the state according to a survey conducted by the Homeland Security funded organization.
Information detailing the alleged terrorist threat was collected from state and local fusion centers, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the DHS, BATF, DEA, ICE, and state and local homeland security and anti-terrorism task forces.
“The 2013-14 study results show that law enforcement’s top concern is sovereign citizens. Although Islamic extremists remain a major concern for law enforcement, they are no longer their top concern,” the START report states. According to the organization, threats posed by sovereign citizens include cyberterrorism, the use of explosive devices, military weapons, and biological, chemical and radiological weapons.
The report recommends state and federal law enforcement share intelligence data on targeted groups, develop “tactical responses” to threats and “act on that information to prevent or mitigate threats.”
“The FBI considers sovereign-citizen extremists as comprising a domestic terrorist movement, which, scattered across the United States, has existed for decades, with well-known members, such as Terry Nichols, who helped plan the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, bombing,” an FBI law enforcement bulletin issued in September, 2011, states.
FBI Responsible for Domestic Terror Plots
In 2007 Terry Nichols implicated the FBI in the OKC bombing. In an affidavit filed in a lawsuit brought by Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue, Nichols states that Timothy McVeigh “revealed the identity of a high-ranking FBI official who was apparently directing McVeigh in the bomb plot.”
“The filing was quickly sealed by a Utah district court, but not before the Deseret Morning News identified the accused FBI provocateur as Larry Potts. Trentadue dropped the bombshell that Attorney General’s Ashcroft’s office gagged Nichols from speaking to the media after it became apparent that McVeigh’s accomplices and government ties to the bombing were in danger of leaking,” Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief reported on February 23, 2007.
The START report also neglects to mention that virtually all high-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States after 9/11 were directed by the FBI and the U.S. government, a fact reported by The New York Times.
The government “targeted people who do not appear to have been involved in terrorist plotting or financing at the time the government began to investigate them. And many of the cases involve due process violations and abusive conditions of confinement that have resulted in excessively long prison sentences,” Human Rights Watch reported last month.