The “Transnational White Supremacist Extremism Review Act,” introduced by New York Rep. Max Rose, a Democrat, on Thursday would require the Department of Homeland Security to compile threat assessments of foreign white supremacy groups, which can then be used by local, state and federal law enforcement to monitor extremist activity more effectively.
It’s part of an ongoing effort led by Rose to pressure the U.S. government to take the threat of those groups seriously.
“We can’t only be focused on the threats of yesterday. We need to stay ahead of the curve and ensure law enforcement has the tools and information needed to keep us safe against the threats of today and tomorrow,” said Rose.
DHS unveiled a new counterterrorism strategy last September that included formal recognition, for the first time, of the threat posed by white nationalism and white supremacy. But it’s not clear whether they’ve identified any particular groups or organizations as especially dangerous, or whether they consider the threat to be an international one, as well as domestic.
A increase in right-wing extremism has been observed all around the world, from Europe, to Russia and Ukraine, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. And many of the groups that have cropped up in recent years are connected to one another online, sharing ideas, memes, aesthetics, and tactics across borders and oceans.
Rose’s bill would apply specifically to groups that are based outside the U.S., such as the Feuerkrieg Division (FKD), a small neo-Nazi organization that embraces the violent philosophy of acclerationism and is affiliated with the group Atomwaffen, a similarly violent American neo-Nazi group that’s been linked to at least five murders. FKD’s leader is based in Estonia and membership is primarily European, but it has increasingly drawn American members. Last summer, a neo-Nazi in Las Vegas who was allegedly in communication with FKD members was arrested for plotting to bomb Jewish and LGBTQ communities. Fliers for the group have been found scattered across the University of California’s Santa Barbara campus and the University of North Florida, as well as near a black church in Spokane, Washington.