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Elizabeth Newman is a former assistant secretary in Trump's DHS. And we'll be talking to us about the racism and horrors she saw inside the administration. Again, this is for a beast inside members only to hear this, along with the rest of our bonus episodes, head to new abnormal DOT, The Daily Beast dot com. That's new abnormal dot, the Daily Beast dot com.
So, Elizabeth, I think the most forward facing thing about DHS and a lot of the things that we've seen the last couple of years, it has become sort of the centerpiece of all of these of the sort of the border policy in particular and the wall and the Muslim ban.
I mean, of all the threats that we faced, what are the things they ignored while focusing on the things that sort of stroked their amygdala, like, you know, in this 13 caravan and ISIS in America, what were the things they were ignoring while those things were looming, the growing risk of cybersecurity threats, a huge, huge issue for the for the country.
And thankfully, there are a lot of people paying attention to it. And and I guess as I take these things off, like Russia and election interference, the rise of global white supremacy and anti-government sentiment and extremism with the rest of the world calls right wing extremism, we in the United States try to avoid that term so that we don't offend half of the country. But the reality is most of that extremist violence that actually leads to the killing of people, not just violence against property, but the actual deaths of Americans, it does come from the right wing part of the political spectrum.
All of those are grave threats, not just 10 years from now, but today. And they were growing increasingly complex and requires significant coordination across the government. If you have a problem that stays within the bounds of a department or agency like this, just the Department of Defense's job, it's a lot easier that DOD can just do the job. And you don't really I mean, you might check in with the president, but you don't really need presidential leadership on those types of issues.
Any time you start getting into the realm where multiple agencies have equities, multiple agencies have differences of opinion on how to go after the threat. It's new.
It might be inherently political because for a variety of reasons, you need leadership and you need a steer, because what your career civil servants who are patriots are going to do is try to protect their country as best as they know how, but they are not going to go do something new and different against the grain of whatever Norm has been in existence for, for 50 years. So when you're talking about something like domestic terrorism, it has been the practice of the US government to default to First Amendment rights.
You really have to cross a strong criminal threshold for the FBI to go and investigate you. It's very different than how we treat international terrorism. If we if there's somebody inside our country that has aligned themselves with ISIS because ISIS is a foreign terrorist, designated foreign terrorist organization, the FBI has the ability to do things to investigate, to survey in a way that they can't for somebody that has aligned themselves with the boogaloo movement. So that distinction alone, which is largely legal, but somewhat also tied to just practices that the FBI put in place after Hoover and some of his abuses.
Those are the things that if we had leadership at the White House, it would have been great to really start to untangle and figure out what can we adjust so we can use all of these great tools that we built to combat ISIS, to combat al-Qaida. What can we use domestically to combat this growing increasingly globalized but domestically based white supremacist movement and within the bounds of the Constitution? Nobody, nobody is talking or wants to abuse First Amendment rights or Fourth Amendment rights.
And that that is that is complex, that it that takes leadership and deep thought. That is not something that this administration has been able to do because it's constantly in chaos and because they wanted to just focus on something simple, like build a wall. It's a construction project. That's what he understands.
You are left with basically officials at my level.
And I certainly had multiple secretaries that were very concerned with all of those threats I mentioned with Russia, with cybersecurity, with domestic terrorism. And they did everything they could to coordinate with their colleagues. I coordinated with my colleagues. I was under tremendous pressure to deal with these emerging threats. But we could only go so far in the in the environment and kind of out on her own. So. So the good news. Is for the American people, there are dedicated public servants that are doing their darndest to protect us from these emerging threats.
The bad news is and what part of the reason I feel compelled to speak out is they they cannot do everything if they don't have the president paying attention to these issues. And we are running out of time on these issues. We are we are losing the fight in many of these spaces because he has been distracted and focused on other things.
Here's to choir singing the exact same piece.
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