The U.S. Intelligence Community’s Annual Threat Assessment released early this month leaves one wondering if our intelligence wonks are too naïve for their jobs or talking in code. Somehow, their intelligence pertains mostly to foreign countries while ignoring similar data in this country.

          Assessing challenges facing other countries, they note:

          “Throughout the world, countries are struggling to maintain democratic systems and prevent the rise of authoritarian regimes,….The challenges often are intertwined with diminished socioeconomic performance, endemic corruption, pressures from climate change, and the spread of extremists’ ideologies from terrorist and insurgent groups.”

          I consider the Jan. 6 putsch pretty much a threat against our “democratic system.” The Oath Keepers and other American fascists certainly qualify as “insurgent groups” and anyone watching the real footage from the storming of the Capitol – instead of Tucker Carlson’s fantasy – certainly sees the terror visited upon our lawmakers.

          “Hang Mike Pence” was a rallying cry – and Donald Trump reacted with glee when he thought his hordes had captured the vice president.

          The Assessment worries that. “In some Central European countries, populist leaders have begun to erode democratic practices by using state power to gain unfair political advantage.”

          In America, Republican efforts to limit voting to their followers threatens the democratic principles of this republic. In the most extreme example, a Florida legislator has filed a bill to ban the Democratic Party from state elections.

          Other Republican-controlled states are working on legislation to allow the state legislature to overturn the popular vote in determining Electoral College votes.

          Another finding by our watchdogs concerned Transnational Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists, who “continue to pose the most lethal threat to U.S. persons and interests, and a significant threat to a number of U.S. allies and partners through attacks and propaganda that espouses… the use of violence to advance white supremacy, neo-Nazism, and other exclusionary cultural-nationalist beliefs. These actors increasingly seek to sow social divisions, support fascist-style governments, and attack government institutions.”

          And, while the report states, “Transnational RMVEs have plotted attacks and encouraged violence against government officials in Australia and throughout Europe, including in Belgium, France, Germany, and Iceland,” it somehow ignores our homegrown klanazis who organized and led the Jan. 6 putsch, the murder in Charlottesville and continue to inspire lone wolf racists who kill “others” whom their ideology marginalizes as subhumans.

          The Assessment found no connection that those transnational “foreign RMVEs directly assisted any attacks in the United States.”

          The country would be better served – with a bucket of cold water in our self-satisfied faces – with an investigation as to how Trump’s racist rhetoric during his campaigns and after he took office emboldened like-minded haters around the world.

          No, we were not spreading our democratic principles. Our president, still worshiped by many, was espousing and expounding anti-Semitism at a level not seen since Hitler.

          The report goes on to document countries ”struggling with violence, unrest, and insurgencies.” Iraq, Burma, East Africa, Afghanistan and Haiti are singled out as challenges as to how “the United States’ and Allies’ ability to effectively partner with these nations.”

          Somehow the report skipped such obvious American exemplars as Kari Lake claiming to be governor of Arizona and Trump’s continual lying about winning the last election, phony Trump electors claiming they should vote in the Electoral College.

          “(D)omestic unrest, insurgencies, democratic backsliding, and authoritarianism?”

          The major threats to our country and what it stands for do not come from China, Russia, Iran or North Korea. We have homegrown traitors hoping to abolish the republic.

          And, the Assessment appeared before Trump called for more violence last week as he anticipated an indictment for a hush-money payment to an adult film actress.

          The evidence our intelligence communities ignored makes one wonder if they were laying out the evidence for the threat while hoping that the rest of us would fill in the blanks.

          (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: <> or <>. Longer versions of his columns are often found at The Oklahoma Observer or <>.)

Major threats are homegrown…

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