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Terrorism and Extremist Violence in the United States (TEVUS) is a US government-funded database that tabulates violent attacks in the United States. Used by the US government and media alike, it is one of the fundamental sources of information about who is conducting violent attacks in the United States. TEVUS reporting appears to set out to cover up Islamic, Arab, Black Nationalist, and Left-Wing terrorism and extremist violence and attempts to document white and right-wing violence where little to no violence actually exists.
There is much debate these days about the level of violence taking place in American streets. It was an important topic in the first presidential debate and President Trump was asked about right-wing violence a number of times. So, what is the source for the claims that right-wing violence is such a big problem and threat? As it turns out, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with other federal funding sources, pay for TEVUS Database and Portal, a 2009 Obama administration initiative.
Much of the information about the existence of right-wing violence does in fact come from the responsible agency, which in this case is the Department of Homeland Security via TEVUS. The latest annual Homeland Threat Assessment published in October 2020 by DHS director Chad Wolf, stated: “That is why we design our programs to be threat agnostic – ensuring that we can combat a broad range of domestic threats. However, I am particularly concerned about white supremacist violent extremists who have been exceptionally lethal in their abhorrent, targeted attacks in recent years.”
Americans for Intelligence Reform partially funded an exhaustive 2-year study by AIR senior fellow Christopher Hull PhD. to look at the details and accuracy of what TEVUS reports that is used by DHS, the rest of our federal government, and media. It appears that TEVUS is a deeply political product with little information based on accurate analysis.
TEVUS is a compilation of four open-source terror and extremism-related databases:
- The American Terrorism Study, led by researchers at the Terrorism Research Center at the University of Arkansas
- The Global Terrorism Database, led by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism housed at the University of Maryland
- The US Extremist Crime Database, compiled by researchers located at Michigan State University, John Jay College, Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis, and Seattle University.
- Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the US.
TEVUS uses their reporting and simply excludes many violent acts if they were perpetrated by non-whites — or worse, outright lies about the races of the individuals conducting violent acts. In a blatant display of data manipulation, the exclusively Arab 9/11 hijackers who murdered nearly 3,000 innocent people were categorized by TEVUS as “White/Caucasian non-Hispanic” and as a result, TEVUS is able to attribute all of those killed in 9/11 to whites. This is by far the largest source of deaths attributed to acts of violence by whites and wildly throws off the actual statistics to make white right-wing violence appear common. TEVUS reports there are 39 court cases which they characterize as right-wing, yet there is only one reference of any kind to terrorism in any of these court cases and that was a single instance where the attacker referred to his target as a ‘terrorist’ and a ‘suicide bomber.’
TEVUS systematically covers up the violence associated with black nationalist groups such as Black Lives Matter (BLM), even though BLM activists and supporters have allegedly killed at least 11 police officers and wounded nine since 2014 — none of that information is included. TEVUS also systematically excludes left-wing violence and does not contain a single reference to ANTIFA, for example, a group that is routinely violent and openly promotes violence.
This is a serious issue well beyond the political back and forth. Since DHS uses TEVUS information and concludes that right-wing violence is a serious problem, they allocate resources and personnel from FBI, DHS, and other agencies to combat those threats. This absorbs massive levels of resources when they could be allocated against groups who are genuinely destroying property and hurting people. When it comes to saving lives and property, we should all be above politics.
This study evaluated the data and variables included in the Terrorism and Extremist Violence in the United States (TEVUS) database, which, according to its User Guide: “…compiles behavioral, geographic, and temporal characteristics of extremist violence in the United States dating back to 1970. Through the portal, users are able to build search queries based on four data types including specific events, perpetrators of an act of terrorism or an extremist crime, groups, and/or court cases related to terrorism and extremist crime in the United States.”
Based on concerns with TEVUS source material, including a component drawing on findings from the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the project compared the database with open source data and reports to determine whether the database systematically over- or under-reports Islamist, Far-Left, and/or Far-Right motives for attacks, addressing inter alia these specific questions:
- Does TEVUS include Antifa-related crimes, given that despite SPLC labeling numerous mainstream conservative organizations as “hate groups” while the Obama Administration’s Department of Homeland Security described Antifa’s activities as “domestic terrorist violence,” the SPLC has refused to label Antifa a hate group?
- Does TEVUS include each of the US-based and otherwise relevant attacks listed at Religion of Peace, which tracks “Killings in the Name of Islam” since 9/11?
- Do the two Far-Left attacks associated with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a source for one TEVUS component, appear accurately in the database?
- Do TEVUS’ results conform with the finding that as of December 2016, just 13 far-right extremists had been indicted on federal terrorism charges since Sept. 11, 2001?
- Does TEVUS include all of the Department of Justice’s public list of 580 individuals convicted of terrorism and terror-related charges between 9/11 and the end of 2014?
- Does TEVUS include all the individuals on the list compiled by then-Sen. Jeff Sessions’ office of 131 individuals implicated in terrorism from March 2014 to June 22, 2016?
- Do TEVUS results comport with the finding reported in December 2016 that an up-to-date list of terror attacks since 9/11 from the think tank New America showed Islamist attacks had led to 94 deaths in the U.S., while Right-Wing attacks had killed 50?
The findings associated with each research question were then compiled into a single discussion laying out overall patterns in TEVUS’ anomalies.
Brad Johnson retired as a Senior Operations Officer and Chief of Station with the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations. He has served domestically and abroad with numerous assignments often during periods of armed conflict. He has served overseas in direct support of the War against Terrorism. Mr. Johnson is a certified senior expert in Counterintelligence issues with extensive direct experience in the field. He is a senior expert in surveillance and surveillance detection issues. He has proven expertise in dangerous operational environments with the highest level of training and extensive direct experience in tradecraft for dangerous areas. His proven expertise also extends to denied operational environments (most difficult and restrictive) with the highest levels of training offered anywhere in the USG or the world and extensive direct experience. Mr. Johnson has served overseas as Chief of Station multiple times. He is an enrolled member of The Cherokee Nation, a Federally Recognized Tribe and is currently the President of Americans for Intelligence Reform.