NDAA: Russian support for US extremists a ‘significant risk’


The Senate is debating the measure this week and senators planned to adopt as soon as Tuesday a package of 79 uncontroversial floor amendments, including one that would authorize U.S. intelligence agency programs in fiscal 2021.

Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said in a floor speech on Monday that extremist groups, including those that might be backed by Moscow, represent “an emerging national security threat, not simply a law enforcement problem.”

Moreover, Reed said, “Russia and Russian agents or entities are working to advance Russian strategic objectives by co-opting, supporting and amplifying these groups to sow divisions and threaten our democratic institutions.”

Rising white supremacist groups

The Senate report’s mention of foreign-funded ultranationalists occurs not only amid the reports of Russian bounties for killing U.S. troops. It also is set against a backdrop of a reinvigorated debate about race in America, one that is happening at a time when right-wing extremist groups are surging in the United States.

The number of U.S. white nationalist groups, in particular, grew 55 percent from 2017 through 2019, to 155, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

John M. Donnelly

2020-06-30 11:24:35

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