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    A ‘Lethal Threat’: Why the Far Right Sees More Scrutiny Than the Left

    A ‘Lethal Threat': Why the Far Right Sees More Scrutiny Than the Left

    Fifty years ago, far-left movements posed the biggest domestic terrorism threat to the United States, with some environmental, communist and animal rights groups taking credit for bombings, arson and vandalism at businesses and federal buildings across the country.

    But terrorism carried out by right-wing actors eclipsed that of leftist movements in the 1990s, and then, the country's focus shifted to foreign terrorist organizations for more than a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Now, government agencies and scholars across the political spectrum agree that far-right movements have caused most of the political violence in the U.S. over the past few years – and present the most dangerous threat today. Data shows that the involvement of veterans and service members in some of these groups is helping to further the violence.

    “It used to be far-left terrorism, then for a while the biggest threats were Islamist and international forms of terrorism,” said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, who runs the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University. “Now, the official government assessment, universally, is that anti-government and supremacist forms of extremism are the biggest threat and the most lethal and pressing threat to the homeland.”

    The idea that far-right extremism poses a threat to the country has been contested by political pundits and some Republican lawmakers, who have attempted to…

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