Yesterday I watched Christopher Wray, head of the FBI, tell a Congressional panel that he was ‘passionate’ about defending the government from being attacked and in that regard, believed strongly that the January 6th riot was an example of ‘domestic terrorism.’ I guess that Andy Cuomo’s not the only public official these days who’s very passionate.

 I then heard an interview on NPR with Cynthia Miller-Idriss, who in case you didn’t know, happens to be the Director of the Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL) in the Center for University Excellence (CUE) at the American University in Washington, DC.  Quite a mouthful.

Professor Miller-Idriss, whose book I am going to review next week, aligned herself with America’s number one crime-fighter, Chris Wray, in also believing that January 6th was the work of domestic terrorists who are connected up in some way with terrorists operating worldwide. Later yesterday one of the AM shock-jocks was floating the latest conspiracy theory, which is that the FBI consciously withheld information about the January 6th threat to embarrass Donald Trump. The FBI should be so smart.

Neither Wray nor Miller-Idriss bolstered their concerns about ‘domestic terrorism’ with any attempt to estimate the actual number of domestic ‘terrorists’ who are zipping around. I note that the real inauguration of Donald Trump, which QAnon chatter was saying would take place in front of a big crowd on March 4th, has completely fizzled out. I also note that of the 200 people arrested so far for being involved in the Capitol riot, less than 15 are described as ‘subscribing’ to QAnon theories.

That’s how you define a ‘domestic terrorist?’ Someone who ‘subscribes’ to a loony conspiracy theory that circulates throughout the web? In that case, I’m probably one of the most active domestic terrorists of all time, because I spend at least half an hour every day reading conspiracy theories promoted by the alt-right.

Terrorism, domestic or otherwise, means an effort to undermine a government by violent means. If the government can’t insure community safety, then the government needs to be changed. Modern terrorist activities – bombings – first took place in Ireland to end British rule, then in Russia – assassinations – to overthrow the Tsar. Timothy McVeigh was a domestic terrorist, so was the Unabomber.

Most of the dummies who climbed up the Capital steps on January 6th probably thought they were just exercising their ‘right’ to free speech, even if their assembly wasn’t peaceful at all. Did a bunch of these characters really want to kill Nancy Pelosi? Who knows?

              Precisely because so much of the so-called terrorist activity prior to January 6th has been documented via tweets and other digital conversations, it’s not really all that clear to me that such behavior can be described as ‘terrorism’ at all. Terrorism is supposed to be hidden from public view, the whole point of terrorist attacks is to surprise and scare people at the moment the event occurs. One could hardly say that the January 6th riot was any kind of surprise.

              On the other hand, what now appears to be a more modern form of terrorism which fits digital technologies perfectly is what is referred to as ‘disinformation,’ which means the conscious attempt to spread false information that will make people believe anti-government ideas which simply aren’t true. Latest example? Election ‘fraud.’ Both Christopher Wray and Cynthia Miller-Idriss are very concerned about disinformation campaigns.

              The ‘fake news’ media began pushing the whole ‘disinformation’ narrative as a way to excuse Hillary Clinton from having run such a lousy Presidential run in 2016. Why did she lose the election to an absolute nincompoop like Donald Trump? Because the Russians used a disinformation campaign to help Trump ‘steal’ the election. 

              Think I’m wrong? Just read the first chapter of Hillary’s book where she ‘explains’ what happened in 2016. Obviously, Trump read her book because he keeps pushing disinformation about election ‘fraud’ to explain his 2020 defeat.

              The good news is that even the Wall Street Journal is now sick and tired of Trump so maybe he’s really going to go away. Not to worry, as long as we have the internet, disinformation is here to stay.