Atlantic reporter Rosie Gray obtained emails that show a former Homeland Security employee was involved in planning social events with white supremacists, self-described racists, and 'white advocates'. The DHS response: "This type of radical ideology runs counter to the Department’s mission of keeping America safe."
Emails reveal that a former Homeland Security Official official was connected to white supremacists. Ian M. Smith has since resigned from his position at the DHS.
“[T]he Department of Homeland Security has denounced “all forms of violent extremism” following the resignation of a policy analyst who had connections with white nationalists, according to leaked emails obtained by The Atlantic.”
He wrote a number of anti-immigrant columns and right-wing op-eds for The National Review, from 2014 to 2017.
Responding to the Atlantic's report, DHS spokesperson Tyler Q. Houlton said, “The Department of Homeland Security is committed to combating all forms of violent extremism, especially movements that espouse racial supremacy or bigotry. This type of radical ideology runs counter to the Department’s mission of keeping America safe.”
From Rosie Gray at the Atlantic:
The emails show that the official, Ian M. Smith, had in the past been in contact with a group that included known white nationalists as they planned various events. On one of the email threads, the address of alt-right white nationalist leader Richard Spencer is included as well as Smith’s. Another group of recipients includes Smith as well as Jared Taylor, the founder of the white nationalist publication American Renaissance, who calls himself a “white advocate.”
The messages, given to The Atlantic by a source to whom they were forwarded, paint a picture of the social scene in which white nationalists gathered for an “Alt-Right Toastmasters” night in 2016, and organized dinner parties and visits from out-of-town friends. And they provide a glimpse into how a group that included hardcore white nationalists were able to operate relatively incognito in the wider world, particularly in conservative circles.
Several emails obtained by The Atlantic show Smith included on threads including people associated with white nationalism such as Marcus Epstein, a former Tom Tancredo aide who entered an Alford plea in 2009 for assaulting a black woman in Washington in 2007, and Devin Saucier, an editor (under a pseudonym) at American Renaissance. Epstein declined to comment; Saucier did not respond to a request for comment.
On June 3, 2016, Epstein emailed a group including Smith, Saucier, Taylor and others to invite them to an “Alt-Right Toastmasters” event. “We are having our much delayed follow up meeting on Monday June 6 at 7:00 PM. A couple of out of town guests will be there. Please RSVP and if you want to invite anyone else, please check with me,” Epstein wrote. “I'm going to give a short presentation on ‘The Pros and Cons of Anonymity’ at 8:00 followed by discussion.” In a previous email on the subject, Epstein had said he was timing the event for a visit from Wayne Lutton, who is the editor of the white nationalist publication The Social Contract. According to a source who was there who spoke on condition of anonymity, Smith attended this event.
Smith told The Atlantic by email, “I no longer work at DHS as of last week and didn't attend any of the events you've mentioned.”