Check the Data: Government Paints False Picture of Extremism

Federal officials, think tanks and media members regularly cite right-wing extremist violence as the biggest domestic threat to America, even as America has just gone through months of nearly daily left-wing violence. But a close examination of the federal database on extremism reveals a major disconnect between the data and reality. The report from Americans for Intelligence Reform (AIR) evaluates the federally funded Terrorism and Extremist Violence in the United States (TEVUS) database and portal, and finds the portal downplays left-wing violence while overplaying right-wing violence.

"(TEVUS) places no blame on the Islamic Arab extremists, the Black Nationalist extremists like Black Lives Matter, or other left-wing extremists...all of that is glossed over and covered up," says Brad Johnson, president of AIR, in a video on the group's website. "At the same time, any little thing that anyone conservative or on the right does they classify as right-wing violence."

Johnson notes the TEVUS database particularly whitewashes radical Islamic terrorism. "Since 9/11, 98 percent of the killings in the name of Islam are misrepresented in this database," he says. "The 9/11 hijackers---all except for one were Saudis---but in that portal they're characterized as Non-White/Caucasian Hispanics, not Arabs."

TEVUS also mischaracterizes or ignores domestic left-wing terrorism. The database does not include Antifa or any Antifa crimes, and it downplayed the political affiliation of the man who shot up a Congressional baseball field in 2017. "He clearly hated Republicans and was a very activist left-winger, and yet it wasn't characterized as domestic terrorist violence or anything of that nature, and it wasn't classified as leftist violence," says Johnson.

The AIR report ultimately concludes, "TEVUS appears to be a carefully-crafted, taxpayer-funded attempt to whitewash Islamic, Arab, Black Nationalist, and Left-Wing terrorism and extreme violence, while amplifying White and Right-Wing violence to the maximum extent possible."

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