Republican Indiana Sen. Mike Braun suggested to Attorney General Merrick Garland Wednesday that a report on domestic violence extremism placed disproportionate interest on the pro-life movement in a “wild attack” that identified “abortion-related violent extremists” as a principal threat.
Garland testified before a Senate subcommittee Wednesday where Braun brought up a declassified intelligence report on domestic violence extremism released by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) in March. That report, Braun said, identified abortion-related violent extremists as a principal threat. (RELATED: Police Made 4 Arrests For Defacing Property As DC Faced Occasional, Destructive Riots. Then They Arrested 2 Pro-Lifers For Writing ‘Black Preborn Lives Matter’)
“To me this seemed like kind of a wild attack on the pro-life community,” Braun said. “It did not list groups like BLM and Antifa, who have had a clear recent record of violent acts.”
“So can you explain what that was about?” Braun asked. “Why there would have been focus on that, and has there been a rash of incidents related to it?”
Garland said that the report described leading threats that were racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, particularly white supremacists, adding that he doesn’t know where pro-life activists fit on the “threat matrix.”
“It’s not my understanding that it is one of the ones that was listed at the high end of threat,” Garland added. (RELATED: DC Mayor’s Arrest Of Pro-Lifers After Allowing ‘Defund The Police’ Message Is ‘Viewpoint Discrimination,’ First Amendment Expert Says)
“It seems like there’s a disproportionate interest or emphasis on one category and not the other,” Braun said. “It’s going to raise some eyebrows and then also bring into the question of ‘is that effort being applied fairly across the board.'”
Garland noted that there is also a separate category of anti-government or anti-authority violent extremists.
“This would be where some of the anarchists that you were just talking about would fall into that bucket and that’s another area of focus of the FBI,” Garland added.
The DNI report specifically mentions that abortion-related violent extremists have ideological agendas in support of pro-life or pro-abortion beliefs. The declassified report does not make specific mention of Antifa or Black Lives Matter, though it explains the category that Garland mentioned — anti-government/anti-authority violent extremists, a category which includes militia violent extremists, anarchist violent extremists, and sovereign citizen violent extremists.
DNI declined to comment for this story.
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