Security Brief: NORTHCOM Week of September 27, 2021
Week of Monday, September 27, 2021 | Issue 31
Indirah Canzater, Beatrice Fratini, NORTHCOM Team
NYPD police vehicle
Date: September 27, 2021
Location: New York City (NYC), New York, United States (US)
Parties involved: New York City Police Department (NYPD); NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio; Oath Keepers; WNYC/Gothamist Journalists
The event: On September 27, 2021, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio began an investigation into the NYPD over concerns of connections to far-right extremist organizations. This was following a WNYC/Gothamist investigation of online records discovered after an anonymous hacker said that they had emails and membership data from the Oath Keepers. The Oath Keepers is a militaristic group that vows to uphold their interpretation of the US Constitution and defend citizens from federal government attacks. The investigation found that at least two active members of the NYPD were part of the anti-government group. Journalists and investigators have been unable to officially confirm these allegations but a further investigation will follow.
The presence of two Oath Keeper members in the NYPD almost certainly suggests that far-right and anti-government views have infiltrated active law enforcement ranks, putting the officers’ beliefs at odds with their responsibilities. The membership almost certainly raises questions over officers’ ability to serve in law enforcement and protect all citizens, impartially. It is very likely these NYPD officers could employ excessive force and engage in racial profiling and stop-and-frisk practices against minorities.
Since law enforcement agents possess combat and weapon skills, extremist militant groups could likely leverage these skills to plan terrorist attacks against the government. Due to the group’s anti-government stance, their primary targets could very likely be politicians, public servants, and government buildings. Officers’ access to restricted locations would almost certainly enable them to obtain easier access to federal buildings or position explosive devices in tactical areas. They could very likely exploit sensitive intelligence about politicians or other influential public figures’ whereabouts to carry out more efficient attacks.
The involvement of law enforcement officials in extremist groups will almost certainly decrease US citizens’ faith in the institutions established to protect them. This will likely create a more hostile environment for law enforcement officials and would likely entail the growth of new anti-government groups, both in the far-left and far-right. Moreover, NYPD members’ involvement with the far-right will almost certainly increase far-left concerns of law enforcement, resulting in possible acts of vandalism of government property and violence against police officers and their supporters.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to investigate extremism in NYPD ranks is likely to restore some public trust that the government is working towards eradication of far-right and anti-government views within law enforcement. Taking appropriate action against officers who are members of extremist groups could likely deter others from joining such groups but it is unlikely to eradicate extremist ideologies from the NYPD.
Date: September 29, 2021
Location: Washington DC, USA
Parties involved: US government; US House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack
The event: The House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack issued subpoenas to 11 associates of former US President Donald Trump. The subpoenas targeted individuals with ties to the planning of the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington DC on January 6, 2021. Those subpoenaed were told to turn over any documents related to the rally on or before October 13, 2021 and prepare for depositions later in the month. Additionally, the House Select Committee has requested documents and files from a number of private-sector organizations and social media companies to gain a holistic perspective on the events of January 6. Former President Trump directly requested his subpoenaed associates to defy the orders.
The House Select Committee’s investigation of the events on January 6, 2021 will likely increase the rift between the two political parties due to the disagreement on whether it was an insurrection. As many members of the Republican party do not support this investigation, any results from the all-party committee will likely be rejected. This will almost certainly result in more political divide and difficulty in making future decisions.
Since the House Select Committee is depending on these individuals and entities to follow through on the subpoenas, noncompliance is almost certainly a concern. Due to the polarizing nature of the issue, people may likely choose to withhold information or withdraw from the hearings completely. As former President Donald Trump requested, individuals and other entities that have an allegiance to his side will likely withdraw and defy subpoenas that are served to them. Ultimately, the investigation will likely come to a standstill as it is contingent on cooperation.
 Hack Of Oath Keepers Militia Group Includes Names Of Active NYPD Officers, De Blasio Launches Investigation, Gothamist, September 2021, https://gothamist.com/news/hack-oath-keepers-militia-group-includes-names-active-nypd-officers-de-blasio-launches-investigation
 Oath Keepers, Southern Poverty Law Center, n.d., https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/oath-keepers
 House committee investigating Jan. 6 Capitol riot subpoenas 11 individuals, including Pierson and Mick Mulvaney’s niece, CNBC, September 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/29/house-committee-investigating-jan-6-capitol-riot-subpoenas-11-individuals-including-mick-mulvaneys-niece.html
 Trump Tells Former Aides to Defy Subpoenas From Jan. 6 Panel, The New York Times, October 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/07/us/politics/jan-6-subpoenas.html