EXCLUSIVE: GOP Reps Mock DOD Special Ops Office For Hosting Talk On ‘Far-Right’ Domestic Terrorism


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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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  • GOP lawmakers said the Pentagon shouldn’t be focusing on domestic terrorism while an alleged Iranian influence agent holds a high-ranking position in an exclusive statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.
  • The DCNF previously reported the DOD agency overseeing special operations held a book talk on “far-right” domestic terrorism in the U.S.
  • The office “is supposed to be focused on deterring future attacks by Iranian-backed terrorist proxies, not employing an acolyte of the regime,” Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Elise Stefanik of New York told the DCNF.

Two prominent GOP representatives mocked the Pentagon for hosting a book talk on domestic right-wing extremism in the same office where an alleged Iranian influencer holds a high-ranking position, according to a statement provided exclusively to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday.

The Department of Defense (DOD)’s Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC) office, which oversees global special operations, invited two experts to discuss their new book on far-right terrorism in the U.S. for all staff who wanted to join on Tuesday, screenshots obtained by the DCNF reveal. The event highlighted the DOD’s unfounded focus on far-right extremism while ignoring other threats, Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Elise Stefanik of New York told the DCNF.

“Joe Biden’s woke Department of Defense (DoD) wasted $900,000 of taxpayer dollars on a baseless witchhunt to root out ‘Far Right extremism’ in the military and paid Leftist professors to speak on the subject yet took no action against an employee who is a known agent of Iranian extremism,” they said. (RELATED: Here’s How An Iranian-Backed Militia’s Suicide Drone Got Past US Defenses)

Ariane Tabatabai, the chief of staff in SO/LIC, was recently investigated for ties to an Iranian influence network. Tabatabai served as a founding member of the Iran Experts Initiative, a group of U.S. analysts who reportedly cooperated with the Islamic regime to promote Tehran’s preferred perspective of the threatening nuclear program while negotiations on a nuclear deal were ongoing.

“SO/LIC is supposed to be focused on deterring future attacks by Iranian-backed terrorist proxies, not employing an acolyte of the regime. Enough with the woke politics – the DoD should focus on deterring future attacks against American troops,” they said.

The invitation for Tuesday’s event appeared to go out via email to “all” staff of SO/LIC, the screenshots show. Bruce Hoffman, a professor at Georgetown University and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and Jacob Ware, a research fellow at CFR, were scheduled to present their book, which purports to trace right-wing domestic terrorism through U.S. history, characterizing the Ku Klux Klan and some groups involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots seeking to reverse the 2020 election as part of the same narrative.

The KKK was a vehicle for southern Democrats to resist the Republican Party reconstruction policies, according to None of the Jan. 6 rioters have been convicted on domestic terrorism laws.

“Serious acts of terrorism have erupted from violent American far-right extremists in recent years, including the 2015 mass murder at a historic Black church in Charleston and the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol,” the book synopsis, which was also included in the email, read.

The Pentagon initiated a stand-down after the Jan. 6 riots and ordered a review of extremism present within the ranks of U.S. military personnel.

But a DOD-funded study released in December found no evidence that the number of violent extremists in the military was disproportionate to the number in the general population, and most of the few service members charged for engaging in prohibited extremist activity included evidence of violent action or plans for violent action. Despite two years of work, the Pentagon failed to understand domestic extremism and likely inflated the issue, to the possible detriment of cohesion within the ranks.

The office said the event was the first in what was intended to be a series of events featuring guest speakers on a variety of topics, the screenshots show.

The Pentagon did not respond to the DCNF’s previous request for explanation of how approved the event and why. It did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment Thursday on the lawmakers’ statements.

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