Katie Gorka, a Trump management political appointee within the Division of Native land Safety, prompt in a July 2017 e mail that the company, which had simply canceled investment for a bunch devoted to deradicalizing white supremacists, redirect its efforts to concentrate on the actual risk: anti-fascists.
Gorka, a senior coverage adviser on the DHS, made the advice in keeping with a request from then–Secretary of Native land Safety John Kelly, who used to be it appears unsatisfied about critical media coverage of the agency’s revamped Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program. Kelly sought after staffers to get a hold of examples of organizations “that counter-hate teams,” an aide wrote in an e mail, which HuffPost obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Gorka couldn’t bring to mind any explicit teams, she wrote in reaction. However “it will even be vital to get the information on the true threats presently,” she added, “as a result of my figuring out is that the far-left teams (Antifa, or anti-fascist) are these days on the upward thrust.”
Her declare, which isn’t sponsored via any information, is the obvious instance of a development that pervades a tranche of DHS emails received via HuffPost: Trump management officers got here into administrative center with very explicit — and improper — concepts about what violent extremism within the U.S. appeared like, then went on the lookout for proof to again up the ones concepts.
The emails, which date from February to August 2017, display Gorka and different Trump management officers operating diligently to seek out causes to strip govt investment from two organizations selected as CVE grant recipients under the Obama administration: the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which used to be making plans to make use of its $393,800 grant to extend psychological well being and counseling services and products in Muslim communities, and Existence After Hate, which used to be going to make use of its $400,00zero to assist white supremacists depart the motion.
Gorka’s identify would possibly sound acquainted as a result of she is married to prominent vest wearer Sebastian Gorka, who’s definitely not a Nazi. “Our pillow communicate is the Islamic State and al-Qaeda,” he once said of their relationship. Even if much less recognizable than her husband, Katie Gorka has her personal historical past of anti-Muslim fearmongering. As a Breitbart columnist, she warned of Muslim Brotherhood influence in U.S. politics and “sharia finance” in London. She took issue with the idea that Islam is a religion of peace. And he or she claimed that the Obama management used to be “supporting Islamist groups abroad” and “permitting Islamists to dictate nationwide safety coverage.”
After President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Kelly ordered a complete evaluation of the CVE program. On the time, Trump loyalists had been pushing for this system to focus exclusively — instead of just primarily — on Muslims. In Would possibly, then–performing DHS Basic Suggest Joseph Maher laid out the prison requirements for rescinding grant cash.
Kelly “has extensive discretion in making award selections,” Maher defined in an e mail that used to be sooner or later despatched to Gorka. If a bunch challenged the DHS in court docket, the secretary must end up that he used to be no longer performing “arbitrarily or capriciously,” the attorney persevered.
So DHS aides set to work discovering causes to justify revoking the grants for MPAC and Existence After Hate. “Now we have sufficient subject material on Existence After hate [sic] however are bobbing up quick on MPAC,” Gorka wrote in an e mail to then–DHS respectable John Barsa, who tweets such things as “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?” “I assumed the Congressional letter may well be useful. Do you will have an digital replica you’ll ship me?” The emails launched via FOIA don’t point out which congressional letter she is relating to.
On June 1, Gorka and Barsa gained a memo from a redacted sender with “really useful language” to justify revoking investment to the 2 teams. The memo claimed, with out proof, that “MPAC, and folks affiliated with the group, were publicly accused of sanitizing terrorism, being affiliated with teams that some declare have ties to terrorism, and making anti-Semitic statements.”
“Whilst DHS takes no place at the accuracy or benefit of the general public accusations towards MPAC, the lifestyles of the ones accusation does make MPAC a debatable applicant,” the memo persevered.
The DHS declined to offer HuffPost with examples of the meant controversy surrounding MPAC. The gang’s president, Salam al-Marayati, has testified sooner than Congress, advised the Los Angeles Police Department on its family members with the town’s Muslim network and served on a DHS advisory committee.
The claims within the DHS e mail are “simply lower and paste from the Islamophobes like Robert Spencer and Daniel Pipes,” he mentioned in an interview, relating to far-right conspiracy theorists who’ve accused him — and maximum different Muslims — of being terrorist sympathizers.
The June 1 memo went on to mention that DHS would no longer paintings with Existence After Hate as a result of Christian Picciolini, probably the most crew’s co-founders, used profanity in a tweet essential of Trump. The memo seems to borrow widely from Gorka’s analysis, summarized in a Would possibly 26 e mail to Barsa, Maher and a redacted recipient.
Picciolini, who’s not affiliated with Existence After Hate, declined to remark. He and Existence After Hate are these days suing every different, essentially over an indicator dispute.
The DHS unveiled its revised listing of grant recipients on June 23, 2017. The company canceled grants for seven organizations, and 5 further teams pulled out of this system voluntarily. The dept reallocated a lot of the cash to begin with meant for community-based nonprofits to legislation enforcement companies.
Organizations that misplaced their investment didn’t obtain a lot of a proof. For small nonprofits comparable to Existence After Hate, which didn’t afford to pay workers complete salaries on the time, dropping their govt grants can have been a big blow to their paintings. However seven weeks after DHS canceled Existence After Hate’s grant, neo-Nazis descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, casting a focus on the specter of far-right extremism. Via the top of 2017, Existence After Hate had raised about $1 million, mentioned its govt director, Sammy Rangel.
When the DHS welcomed CVE grants recipients in past due July, it mistakenly despatched invites for a webinar to teams whose investment were revoked. “God I hate this program,” an respectable whose identify used to be redacted wrote in an e mail to Gorka and Barsa on a thread concerning the webinar snafu.
“Don’t depression!” Gorka wrote again. “You’ll be able to’t imagine all of the just right issues which can be taking place presently! Simply bring to mind the Wicked Witch of the East dissolving into a puddle, crying ‘I’m melting! I’m melting!’” she persevered. “Consider me, it’s melting!”
The Trump management is anticipated to finish the CVE grant program, NBC reported final 12 months.
The DHS declined to reply to an in depth listing of questions. “The Division is dedicated to each fighting violent extremists and countering terrorism,” a DHS respectable who asked anonymity wrote in an e mail. “Following Secretary Kelly’s evaluation, some in the past introduced grantees had been made up our minds to be simpler via partnership with native legislation enforcement and/or had been in a position to securing non-federal investment and thus didn’t obtain further budget at the moment.”
“Relating to Existence After Hate, the Division, together with Katie Gorka, has a productive dating with the group and has lately met and took part in occasions with its new management,” the respectable added.
The watchdog crew Democracy Ahead is suing the DHS for failing to conform to a FOIA request associated with Gorka’s function on the company.
It seems that that Gorka used to be unsuccessful in her 2017 bid to get govt investment to combat anti-fascists. However she’s no longer the one one on the DHS who hyped the specter of antifa. Months later, a DHS agent emailed intelligence centers requesting information about an antifa plot to overthrow the federal government after apparently falling for a satirical antifa supersoldier meme, in keeping with emails received via a separate FOIA request via the transparency nonprofit Assets of the Other people.
Even if violent assaults via white supremacists are in the rise within the U.S., there is not any equivalent development with antifa, a loosely arranged crew of folks identified for exposing the identities of neo-Nazis, protesting white supremacist rallies and infrequently punching folks like white supremacist Richard Spencer within the face.
Learn the emails received via FOIA right here: