Senate Democrats continue attacks on local law enforcement under cover of preventing “extremism”

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While Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin attempted to put on a patina of support for police during a recent Senate judiciary hearing on domestic terrorism, the illusion just didn’t hold up.

“As we saw on January 6th, and on the streets of American cities in 2020, [police officers] are too often themselves the target of violent extremists,” Durbin said in his opening statement for the January 11th hearing entitled, “The Domestic Terrorism Threat One Year After January 6.”

“They cannot take on the biggest threat to our national security alone, they need our help at the federal level,” Durbin said of local law enforcement, “that is why I proposed the National Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act.”

Yet Durbin’s “National Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act” doesn’t provide assistance to local or state law enforcement, it maligns them. The bill accuses local cops of being riddled with extremists and in need of being supervised and even purged.

As I previously noted in “A domestic terrorism bill only antifa could love”:

Perhaps even more concerning however, is the way Durbin’s bill enshrines into law anti-police talking points that may as well be straight out of an Antifa or Black Lives Matter pamphlet.

The legislation treats law enforcement and the U.S. military as though they are riddled with white supremacists and neo-Nazis and demands an annual assessment of the “infiltration of Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and the uniformed service,” and targeted training to prevent such “infiltration.”

Durbin also attempts to put his thumb on the scale of counterterrorism analysis, demanding that his newly created Office of Domestic Terrorism “shall focus their limited resources on the most significant domestic terrorism threats, as determined by the number of domestic terrorism-related incidents.” Yet the legislation mandates reports emphasizing White supremacist-motivated terrorism, thereby ensuring that only those threats are considered “significant.” The bill would then require that local and state law enforcement receive training on only those threats considered “significant.”

The reality is that one-size does not fill all when it comes to counterterrorism. Local law enforcement knows best their own areas of operation and should be allowed to seek out relevant training on what they consider relevant threats, not only what Durbin thinks is most important.

Law enforcement at all levels should also very concerned that any successful efforts to address potential threats are unlikely to win Durbin’s applause, even if his signature legislation is passed.

While Durbin did criticize far-left rioters in Portland during the hearing, in 2020 as those attacks were actually taking place Durbin labeled law enforcement “secret police”, and called federal law enforcement working to arrest violent rioters “a shadowy paramilitary.”

If Durbin publicly praised local law enforcement while his actions suggest he views them as little more than white supremacists or “secret police,” his colleague Senator Cory Booker went straight to the heart of the matter, seeking to get DOJ Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen to denounce so-called “constitutional sheriffs” as extremists. The constitutional sheriff movement is based on the idea that as an elected official sworn to uphold state and federal constitutions, a sheriff has both the ability, as well as the duty, to refuse to enforce laws they believe to be unconstitutional.

That apparently doesn’t sit well with Senator Booker.

Olsen wisely side-stepped the issue but didn’t take the opportunity to support local law enforcement as an essential to defeating domestic terrorist threats.

“I am familiar with that group from public reporting,” said Olsen. “I would say as a general matter, what we do know is that there has been a significant rise in the threat from anti-government, anti-authority violent extremists, again focused on action and violence, not speech and ideology.”

Senate Democrats continue to use the specter of domestic terrorism to target political opponents, including local law enforcement. Targeting political opponents while outwardly claiming to respect and support them is particularly egregious.

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