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Expansion of domestic terrorism laws profoundly threatens democracy

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Someone I know recently described a strange and shocking situation they had with a neighbor they barely know. The neighbor tentatively came over to ask if they were in any way going to cause trouble with her because she voted for President Joe Biden and she believed based on the free speech bumper stickers on their car that they were Trump supporters.

She said she was terrified that someone could be a domestic Trump terrorist and target her home. She had been in her house since last March due to COVID-19 and had been watching the news 24-7.

It’s sad but true that the rhetoric since Jan. 6, from lawmakers is dangerous to how Americans perceive one-another, as well as civil liberties. It is in my opinion a mission creep to a surveillance society born out of fear and one in which American democracy is threatened.

One example was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when she said Trump was a “danger to the nation…We know that the President of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country. He must go, he is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.” She also said, those “insurrectionists were not patriots. They were not part of a political base to be catered to and managed. They were domestic terrorists and justice must prevail.”

What does this mean exactly? These are the terms that have been attributed to Trump supporters. It’s not just those that broke the law, committed criminal acts and were part of the destruction on Capitol Hill Jan.6.

And now, lawmakers are going much further, pushing to expand the powers of the DHS, FBI and DOJ. Those powers will allow law enforcement to more readily surveil Americans. It is an effort, they say, that is needed to root out the growing and alleged threat of domestic terrorism.

Strangely these so-called domestic terrorist groups, linked to white supremacists, surfaced predominately without warning in January. According to Democrats who are pushing for the expansion of surveillance powers, these groups are a direct threat to a democracy and the White House.

On Tuesday, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs and Rules and Administration Committees, held the hearing on Capitol Hill regarding the Jan. 6, riots, including the issue of domestic terrorism. The discussions not only focused on the events of that tragic day and how they transpired but what is needed to prevent these American terrorists from acting again.

I recently sent an email to the FBI asking how their investigation into the crimes committed on Jan. 6 were conducted and if those authorities exceeded similar riots that occurred the summer before in Washington D.C. and Portland, Oregon. I also wanted to know under what authority did the FBI have to request the bank records of Bank of America customers on or around the day of the Capitol riots.

In a breaking report on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s show, bank records obtained by the network show that BofA turned over the financial data of 211 of its customers. Those customers were caught up in a huge dragnet the bank conducted of its clients who happened to use credit and debit cards on or around the Jan. 6 riots. Those records were turned over to the FBI without a warrant.

The response I received from the FBI is as vague as the legislation currently being proposed by lawmakers to expand the authorities to surveil American citizens.

“The FBI conducts investigations into violations of federal law regardless of who the actors are or their motivations using our existing legal authorities,” stated the FBI in an email to me. “Our focus is on individuals who engage in illegal activity. We do not focus on group membership or ideology. The FBI does not and cannot designate domestic terrorist groups.”

The FBI added that “the FBI can never initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or the exercise of First Amendment rights.” 

The FBI’s answers did not address the very serious nature of the questions I sent to the bureau ( I have listed those questions below). Of course, the FBI cannot designate domestic terrorist groups but that doesn’t mean it won’t investigate those it believes are threats and under new proposed laws it can mean almost anyone. It also doesn’t mean that the FBI will not be given the authority to expand its surveillance powers of Americans by Democratic lawmakers.

“We are looking into the circumstances surrounding the Jan. 6 riots and the authorities used by the bureau to investigate Americans in or around the Capitol,” said a Congressional official, on condition of anonymity.

Those powers, however, are just the tip of the iceberg. One of the most profoundly concerning threats to American civil liberties is bill H.R. 350. It is the proposed Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, introduced by Rep. Brad Schneider, D- Illinois.

He stated, that the “Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act gives our government the tools to identify, monitor and thwart their illegal activities. Combatting the threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacy is not a Democratic or Republican issue, not left versus right or urban versus rural. Domestic Terrorism is an American issue, a serious threat the we can and must address together.”

The bill was introduced on Jan. 19 and it says it aims to “strengthen law enforcement efforts to prevent, report on, respond to and investigate acts of domestic terrorism.” But all one needs to do is look at how broad the bill is and the details contained there-in.

It will go far beyond investigating criminal activity and instead will be used to monitor Americans. It will allow the FBI and other law enforcement to report on citizens they suspect may commit a crime in the future. The bill also designates the DHS, the Department of Justice and the FBI to monitor “domestic terrorism” threats, with a specific focus on white supremacists. I still haven’t seen any documentation suggesting there is an extraordinary threat to our nation from these groups or others.

Democrats pushing to expand domestic terror laws fail to explain what organizations are directly threatening the government. The rhetoric has focused mainly on Trump supporters and the incidents that occurred as the riot broke out on Jan. 6 at the Capitol Building. That rhetoric in my opinion has been used to ostracize the roughly 75 million Americans who voted for Trump from those who didn’t.

It is dangerous in so many ways. It pits neighbor against neighbor, Americans against the system and breeds distrust in the government. More concerning, is the appearance that once again – like was discovered in during the now debunked FBI Trump Russia investigation – the bureau is being weaponized for political purposes.

Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Florida, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, and is familiar with intelligence threats, told me on a recent appearance with “The Sara Carter Show” that he will seek answers from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other top Democrats, that claim there is a continuing threat to the nation’s Capitol. He says as of yet, Democratic lawmakers have not answered these questions clearly and he is deeply concerned with the expansion of surveillance powers being requested.

“I will continue to push, I can promise you,” said Waltz. “I’m on Armed Services Committee, I’m on the science space and technology committee we’ll continue to push because I know the right questions to ask having served in the Pentagon, served downrange, served in the White House. And now in Congress, I know how these things work. I know how they should work anyway. I know how things get hid, as you well know behind classifications. And I promise you, we’ll get to the bottom of it.”

As for my questions regarding Bank of America’s decision to share banking information with the bureau or if other banks participated in sharing similar information, the bureau asked me “to reach out to the Treasury Department.”

Treasury Department officials could not be immediately reached for contact but this story will be updated if and when they do.

Questions I Sent the FBI:

First question, was Bank of America the only bank the FBI obtained information from?  If not, what other banking institutions assisted the FBI with this investigation? 

Did the FBI request any other information from businesses connected to their ongoing investigation – for example, did the FBI obtain video surveillance from Airbnb’s customers or city wide surveillance footage associated with any businesses?

Moreover, did any of the banking institutions contacted by the FBI refuse at any point to turn over information on their customers?

Also, did the FBI obtain any warrants to conduct these seemingly intrusive investigations? If so, how did they determine what and who they would be collecting on? Did they use surveillance footage to determine who was in the crowds were that needed to be investigated – if so, were there any other methods in place – for example, did the FBI cast out a large net in an effort to determine who may have crossed the line on Jan. 6, from rally goer to rioter, or insurrectionist? 

Did the FBI employ the same investigative techniques and request the same information from banking institutions during the riots that led to the fire of St. John’s Epicopal Church across from the White House in June, 2020? 

Did the FBI open domestic terrorist investigations when people allegedly associated with BLM (Black Lives Matter organization), along with others connected to Antifa, as well as other left wing organizations rioted and clashed with police and secret service outside the White House during that month of June? If so, how many banking institutions provided the FBI information on their customers? 

Also, did the FBI request cellular data on these protestors, as was done on January 6, 2021? 

In Portland, Oregon – riots also erupted and held the city hostage (businesses were shuddered, looted and burned) in June, 2020. Did the FBI employ the same tactics of investigation in Portland to determine who pillaged the city and did the FBI investigators collect data from the banking institutions to monitor the activities of the people in the area in Portland at the time? 

If so, what banking institutions did the FBI request the information from and which ones agreed to provide the information? What information was provided? 

What banking institutions refused to provide information, if any? Also, what determines the FBI’s definition of a domestic terrorist group (what is the FBI’s definition of an insurgency) …

Is Antifa, for instance considered a domestic terrorist group, if not, why? 

What groups were behind the January, 6 insurrection? Have they been in existence for a long time and are there any new groups we are unaware of? 

President Biden said there is a rise in White Supremacist groups in the United States – can the FBI provide the detailed information to support these facts and where these groups are located? 

Is there still a serious credible threat against Capitol Hill and again, what groups are behind the threats?

Questions emailed to the FBI, Jan.19, 2021

You can follow Sara Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC

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Mayorkas Border Manifesto: Why the DHS Secretary must be impeached

If this isn’t a reason to impeach Mayorkas, I don’t know what is.

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Alejandro Mayorkas

Listen to “The Smoking Gun: The Mayorkas Memo Telling Border Patrol to Stop Doing Its Job” on Spreaker.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a memorandum to top DHS officials on Sept 30, 2021, that set the stage for an open border policy that has resulted in the most dangerous national security situation the United States has ever confronted. That seven-page letter, written by Mayorkas and obtained by this columnist, is an open borders blueprint and reveals his purposeful failure to secure the southern border. Numerous retired and current DHS officials said it is sufficient enough for Congress to impeach him.

The Mayorkas policy, which has perpetuated a tsunami of people from all over the world to illegally enter the United States, is simplified and made clear in his memorandum. It is so direct that it is easy to see why the policy overrides almost all U.S. immigration laws by pushing all federal immigration agencies under DHS to exercise  “prosecutorial discretion” [ not the law ] to assess whether those who enter the country illegally should be given the right to stay, despite any criminal background or failure to qualify for asylum.

Some of the memo’s contents have been openly discussed by Mayorkas under questioning by lawmakers at hearings. Even parts of the policies have been exposed in reports but what makes this memo unique is that it is the roadmap the Biden Administration used to implement this failed open border policy that has become the biggest concern for most American voters.

And Mayorkas is the architect of the policy. It is a policy that fails to uphold the Constitution, and current immigration laws and turns Federal law enforcement officers and agents into de facto human traffickers.

“In exercising our discretion, we are guided by the fact that the majority of undocumented noncitizens who could be subject to removal have been contributing members of our communities for years,” states Mayorkas, as he goes on to list all the possible jobs illegal aliens are doing in the nation. “The fact an individual is removable noncitizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them. We will use our discretion and focus our enforcement resources in a more targeted way.”

Those ‘targeted resources’ Mayorkas was referring to have mostly been directed at processing illegal migrants into the country and not deporting those breaking the law, according to lawmakers and DHS officials who spoke with me. I’ve documented for the past three years on both Fox News’ Sean Hannity and on SaraACarter.com the enormous resources used not to deport but to import illegal aliens into the country.

Rep. Andy Biggs, who is currently co-chair of the Border Security Caucus and the House Judiciary Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance. told me Sunday that the memo in its entirety is Mayorka’s ideological push for open borders and it’s “his philosophy, cobbled together in place…the letter reflects his distorted thinking on border security.”

Mayorkas’ ‘distorted thinking’ has now led to calls for his impeachment. There are currently two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas. The articles charge him with “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and a “breach of public trust.” This memo alone is evidence of that breach with the American public.

In the first article, the Republicans with the House Homeland Security Committee state that Mayorkas “has repeatedly violated laws enacted by Congress regarding immigration and border security…His refusal to obey the law is not only an offense against the separation of powers in the Constitution of the United States, it also threatens our national security and has had a dire impact on communities across the country.”

Republicans accused Mayorkas in the second impeachment article of “knowingly making false statements to Congress and the American people and avoiding lawful oversight to obscure the devastating consequences of his willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law and carry out his statutory duties.” And although the feckless Senate may not have the votes to make the impeachment stick, it will expose those Republicans who truly are open borders advocates from those who believe in the Constitution and the rule of law. It would require a two-thirds majority to convict and remove Mayorkas from office.

If there was ever a reason for impeachment, Mayorkas fits the bill. His impeachment will send a clear message to the Biden Administration and Senators on both sides of the aisle that gig is up and that our nation’s security must be the priority.

Mayorkas ushered in the administration’s expansive use of  “prosecutorial discretion”  that allowed our borders to become an open gateway for our adversaries, drug cartels, terrorists and people from all over the world, stated Joel Maldonado, a recently retired Border Patrol Supervisor, who spoke for the first time about the memo to me on, The Sara Carter Show podcast Sunday.

“When we are not upholding the law but being forced to commit treason it puts everyone at risk, it’s demoralizing and they are lying to the American people,” said Maldonado, who published his first book on his 28 years with the Border Patrol, A Binding Oath: A Border Patrol Journey and the Mayorkas Effect. 

Maldonado, who retired in March 2023, had never seen the Mayorkas memo until this year. He said it coincided with the policy his station in Texas had to abide by and a dangerous policy “that continues to this day.”

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Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“The memo itself is a smoking gun, it’s proof that the administration usurped the law with this prosecutorial discretion policy, along with so much more,’ he said. He described how he and other supervisors would put agents out on the border to conduct enforcement instead of using them all for processing illegal aliens into the country when directed to do so by DHS. He said “We would do this out of sight of Washington D.C. and DHS but then be scolded later if we increased our apprehensions. They wanted us to process and they didn’t care how many more people came in or what the consequences would be.”

The seven-page memo was emailed from Mayorkas to Director Tae Johnson, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Acting Commissioner Troy Miller, U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Director Ur Jaddou, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Robert Silvers, Under Secretary of Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans; Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Lynne Parker Dupree, Chief Privacy Officer with the Privacy Office.

Many areas of the memo are striking but one that stood out was the list of reasons and excuses that Mayorkas gives can be used when attempting to not deport illegal aliens that clearly present a danger to the nation or have violated U.S. law.

This memo “brings to the forefront the official policy of Alejandro Mayorkas to open wide our southern border,” Biggs stated, adding that he believes Congress has the votes to impeach the DHS Secretary.

One of the most stunning parts of the memo refers to the ‘threat to public safety.’  Mayorkas said those threats possibly posed by illegal aliens are ‘not to be determined according to bright lines or categories. Instead, it requires an assessment of the individual and the totality of the facts and circumstances.’

He lists reasons for enforcement action, such as, “sophistication of criminal offense, use or threatened use of a firearm or dangerous weapon, serious prior criminal record” but then follows with mitigating reasons as to what could constitute a reason not to deport them.

He states,  “There can be mitigating factors that militate in favor of declining enforcement action: 

  • advance or tender age
  • lengthy presence in the United States
  • a mental condition that may have contributed to the criminal conduct, or a physical or mental condition requiring care or treatment
  • Status as a victim of crime or victim, witness, or legal party in legal proceedings,
  • the impact of removal on family in the United States, such as loss of a provider or caregiver,
  • whether the noncitizen may be eligible for humanitarian protection or other immigration relief
  • military or other public service of the noncitizen or their immediate family;
  • time since an offense and evidence of rehabilitation;
  • conviction was vacated or expunged

Maldonado said the list of excuses to allow illegal criminals to stay “is basically a strict warning to supervisors” in Border Patrol, ICE and other agencies that deportation was no longer a priority. The priority was ensuring that those who came in illegally stayed in the country, regardless of status, asylum claims or failure to properly vet them for national security threats.

What’s more disturbing in the Mayorkas border manifesto – is not just how he ties the hands of federal agents and risks the national security of our nation – but how he exonerates himself and the Biden Administration from any possible repercussions due to a dangerous open border policy.

“The civil immigration enforcement does not compel an action to be taken or not taken. Instead, the guidance leaves the exercise of prosecutorial discretion to the judgment of our personnel,” Mayorkas states.

Maldonado, and numerous other retired and current Border Patrol supervisors and agents, told me this guidance gives the federal officials – including Mayorkas – cover,  by putting the onus on the federal law enforcement officers who are forced to process people into the nation, and not the administration’s policy.

One current ICE supervisor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, summed it up by saying, “It means if anything goes wrong – if there’s a terror attack or something of that magnitude because of what Mayorkas has done – it will be the poor BP agent or ICE officer that will be blamed…Even though we have been the ones forced to let in the criminals and terrorists because of Mayorkas’ policy.”

If that isn’t a reason to impeach Mayorkas, I don’t know what is.

Follow Sara A. Carter on X at @SaraCarterDC 

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