Law Enforcement Personnel Now View Sovereign Citizens as Bigger Terrorist Threat than Islamic Extremists
Radical Americans who reject all forms of government rule are now seen as the most serious threat among extremists, more so than Islamic extremists, according to law enforcement personnel surveyed.
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism says Islamic jihadists were considered the No. 1 threat when law enforcement officers were surveyed in 2006-2007.
But as of 2013-2014, Islamic extremists had fallen to No. 2 because of the leap in concern about sovereign citizens. Defined as those individuals who believe federal, state, and local governments have no legal authority over them, sovereign citizens now occupy the top spot in ranking the biggest perceived threats in the U.S. Sovereign citizens often do not pay taxes, including income taxes, but also debts such as car license fees. They’re also often involved in fraud schemes such as selling fake identity documents and bogus insurance and often hold seminars teaching others how to do such things.
Behind Muslim terrorists on the list of perceived threats are militia/patriots, racist skinheads and neo-Nazis.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported in 2011:
“The sovereign-citizen threat likely will grow as the nationwide movement is fueled by the Internet, the economic downturn, and seminars held across the country that spread their ideology and show people how they can tap into funds and eliminate debt through fraudulent methods. As sovereign citizens’ numbers grow, so do the chances of contact with law enforcement and, thus, the risks that incidents will end in violence. Law enforcement and judicial officials must understand the sovereign-citizen movement, be able to identify indicators, and know how to protect themselves from the group’s threatening tactics.”
The FBI report also noted how dangerous these people can be for police. Four years ago, two Arkansas police officers were gunned down in a hail of automatic rifle fire by sovereign-citizen extremist Joseph Kane, 16, during a routine traffic stop. Other followers of the movement have been charged with possession of bombs and other explosive devices.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley
To Learn More:
Understanding Law Enforcement Intelligence Processes (National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism) (pdf)
Sovereign Citizens a Growing Domestic Threat to Law Enforcement (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Cliven Bundy Owes more Money in Unpaid Grazing Fees than all other Ranchers Combined (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Homeland Security Dept. Slashes Investigations of Non-Islamic Terrorism (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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