The Biden administration is using a Department of Homeland Security anti-terrorism grant program to target Americans with conservative and Christian beliefs. It’s a shocking discovery that came to light in recent weeks thanks to the Media Research Center.
The Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program provided $352,000 to the PREVENTS-OH initiative at the University of Dayton. Included in the grant application was a chart, “The Pyramid of Far-Right Radicalization,” which links well-known conservative organizations to neo-Nazis.
Dan Schneider, vice president of the Media Research Center’s Free Speech America, MRC Business, and the external affairs division, joined “The Daily Signal Podcast” to explain what his organization discovered.
“They held a conference even before grant funding was provided, where they specifically used this chart and additional charts to train people on how to subvert organizations like The Heritage Foundation,” Schneider said. “And this sounds like such a conspiracy theory. It sounds crazy that this is happening, but it really is.”
Listen to the full interview on “The Daily Signal Podcast” or read the lightly edited transcript below.
Rob Bluey: Dan, thanks for revealing this important story.
Dan Schneider: Thank you. It’s a sad, tragic story. Rob, if I could just amplify one point: This grant program is in fact targeting conservative Americans, but specifically the nation’s premier think tank, The Heritage Foundation, by name, by logo.
It’s just shocking that our own taxpayer dollars that are supposed to be used to apprehend terrorists at the border has identified, in its sights, its purpose, its goals for eradication, The Heritage Foundation.
Bluey: And thank you for mentioning that, Dan. There are a significant number of notable organizations, including Heritage, on “The Pyramid of Far-Right Radicalization.” Tell us what that is and what your reaction was when you first saw those names on that list.
Schneider: We got these documents through a couple of different sources, but it reflects the Department of Homeland Security’s priorities in this grant program that, again, is supposed to be targeting big gang violence efforts and terrorism. The Biden administration, following his instructions when he was on the campaign trail, Joe Biden said he was going to reform this entire program, and he has.
But if you go online, the DHS website, it’s very vague what this program really is about. It has some nice buzzwords, makes people feel good, but what are these grantees actually doing, it’s starting to look really ugly. It really looks like they’re identifying regular, everyday Americans as the bad guys and looping them in with militant Nazis and neo-Nazis.
Bluey: It’s truly concerning. Obviously, Congress has a new committee that’s focused on the weaponization of government. What are some of the things that you’ve uncovered that we should know. How are our tax dollars are being used by this government to target conservatives?
Schneider: This [“The Pyramid of Far-Right Radicalization”] graphic image shows that Heritage and the Christian Broadcasting Network and Fox News and the Republican Party and PragerU are part of this terrible giant conspiracy of hate to attack America.
Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth, but the grantee, the University of Dayton—and there are 80 grantees nationwide, each with its own specific goals and mission statements. This grantee in particular included somebody from the University of Cincinnati and other radical academics, and this was part of their grant application. This was, “Hey, DHS, fund us because this is the kind of work we want to do.”
They held a conference even before grant funding was provided, where they specifically used this chart and additional charts to train people on how to subvert organizations like The Heritage Foundation. And this sounds like such a conspiracy theory. It sounds crazy that this is happening, but it really is.
And I’m reading from the conference itself where this University of Cincinnati research admitted, and I’m quoting here, “A lot of things we’re doing are illegal. A lot of it involves breaking the law.” And he instructs people on how to actually create dummy accounts on social media platforms like Rumble, particularly the conservative platforms, to infiltrate them, to disrupt these organizations, to manufacture infighting—this false sense of infighting, of course, to create infighting.
If somebody were to hear that Dan Schneider said, “Rob Bluey is a dirty little jerk,” well, you’d be offended and wonder what’s going on, and then that false infighting creates infighting. It’s just one of the many tactics they’ve employed.
Bluey: You had mentioned earlier that Biden at one point, when he was campaigning for president, promised to reform this office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention. It certainly seems that he’s transformed it into something completely different from what the Trump administration was doing. What does it tell us about how the administration is using the Department of Homeland Security, or maybe other agencies, to advance its political agenda?
Schneider: We’ve seen a number of stories come out now that reveal how this administration, and a number of agencies, is attacking conservatives with federal dollars, our taxpayer dollars, attacking conservatives and how they communicate and what they can say.
But let me just point this out—and The Daily Signal has written on this in particular. President Biden stood on the steps of Independence Hall in Philadelphia a few months ago, sitting president of the United States, and announced that half of Americans are, and I think the term he used, are semi-fascists. His administration is simply following his lead and on the campaign trail he did point out this program in particular to say he was going to reform it and change it.
[Alejandro] Mayorkas, the Department of Homeland Security secretary, is following his boss’ instructions and his lead. They have revamped this program so it’s not focusing on terrorism. It is focusing on people who disagree with the president politically.
And they’re very clever. Some of these grant programs, they’re going after children, teaching children on how to think and how to reject certain ideas. They call that resiliency, prebunking. NPR a couple of years ago started to use the phrase “prebunking.” That’s part of this initiative. “If you hear anything about this false Hunter Biden laptop story, we’re going to prebunk it, we’re going to create resiliency so you don’t believe it and you reject it.”
The Left is so much smarter, more sinister than we are. They attack us on every level.
Bluey: Of course they never probably expected you to get your hands on this information and reveal it to the American people in the way you did. Tell us about this new initiative on the part of MRC to engage in this type of work, whether it be [Freedom of Information Act] requests or other means in order to make sure that you’re exposing what this administration is actually doing.
Schneider: Lots of good organizations have these FOIA efforts. Of course, Heritage has a very strong effort itself, so we are trying to do this in a different way than other organizations do because it doesn’t make any sense for every organization to do it the same way. Then we’re all just getting the same documents.
We don’t have enough resources like the Left does to duplicate. We’ve got to be really smart and each organization do things in the way that they know best to do.
So we are doing this. Maybe the best example I can think of is like the Navy SEALs or Delta Force. How can we go behind the scenes in rifle shot approach to get documents that … DHS doesn’t think we’re going to be able to get? How do we go around them to get these things?
And so far we’ve been successful and we’ve got more documents that we’re going to reveal soon. We’re just trying to fill in gaps and holes to make sure we know what we’re talking about.
I was a political appointee in the Bush administration and I used to run a big agency that awarded grants, so I know what the grant process looks like.
Under U.S. government rules to award grants and contracts there’s a certain amount of specificity that is required and goals that have to be stated, and grant applications have to include specific plans for how they’re going to meet those goals and reporting requirements.
As I’ve looked at the applications for this particular DHS program, none of that exists and the language is all very fuzzy.
They’re going to address misinformation and disinformation, engage in media literacy campaigns, create community resiliency, just these very vague phrases that in some respects don’t sound objectionable at all. But then you start to wonder, “Well, how are they going after terrorists? How does this all relate to terrorism?”
It’s all vague and fuzzy, which suggests to me that all of these grants, or many of them, were wired in advance. DHS knew the organizations they were going to award grants to because the applications are so weird and fuzzy and vague, there’s no way to evaluate. On the merits I think they were prewired.
Bluey: Both the Department of Homeland Security and the University of Dayton have downplayed the significance of the MRC report, yet you are pressing for answers. You delivered this to [House Judiciary] Chairman Jim Jordan in the U.S. House of Representatives. What are your expectations for Congress?
Schneider: DHS did not merely downplay this. They issued a statement within two hours after our release saying that we were—I don’t know if they used the word lying, but they certainly said we were wrong, and they specifically said, “These materials, this chart, these graphs were not included in any successful grant application.” It was objectively false, and Fox News broke the story, and in the story itself, Fox News had the link to the application where all these documents are included.
DHS, they think they can get away with these things because, of course, the legacy media, the corporate media is not going to report these things so they can misstate the truth, they can lie and get away with it.
That’s why it’s so important that people like you, Rob, are reporting the truth. Americans need to have a trusted source where they can go and get the facts because they’re not going to get it from ABC, NBC, CBS, and certainly not NPR and PBS.
Bluey: There’s a movement afoot in Congress to hold Secretary Mayorkas accountable. The Heritage Foundation has called for him to be impeached. What can conservatives do about it, though? What do you advise supporters of MRC or our listeners on “The Daily Signal Podcast” to do now if they’re outraged by what you’re reporting today?
Schneider: So many times—and, Rob, you and I have been in Washington, D.C., a long time, so we’ve seen people who often say, “Well, contact your member of Congress.” And so often that’s just used as a throwaway line. This is one of those times. Contact your member of Congress. DHS has to be held accountable.
Mayorkas, he has lied to Congress, he has lied to the American public. He has got to be impeached and he has got to be removed from office. His sort of behavior is appalling. He may be a nice man behind the scenes, I don’t know, but as a government official, he has been so contrary to the Constitution, he has serially broken our nation’s laws. He has got to go.
Bluey: It’s incredible to see just how badly he has bungled the situation of the border. Obviously, we’re talking about this grant program here and his efforts to steer the department in a political direction.
Dan, before you go, I want to give you a moment to talk about the Media Research Center, the work that you do there. Obviously, it’s much more comprehensive than just the topic we’re talking about today.
Schneider: When I think of Washington, D.C., and the conservative movement in this city and in government, relating to government, I do think of a few organizations that are the pillars of the effort. And, of course, Heritage stands right there, chief among them. But the Media Research Center also is one of these strong, traditional, conservative groups that have been fighting in this city, this town, for our nation for a long time.
Brent Bozell founded it in the mid-1980s. He comes from two stellar political dynasties within the conservative movement. His mother is a Buckley, as in Bill Buckley, William F. Buckley Jr., and Sen. Jim Buckley, and his father, Brent Bozell II, both great traditional conservative families. So it has a great founding and a great mission and purpose.
I’m old enough. I remember when it was founded in 1987. And I was so happy because Dan Rather was a horrible, horrible anchor of CBS News, and Brent Bozell and us, we are going to prove media bias and then we’re going to try to stop it.
So mission accomplished on the first part, and we still have to try to stop media bias. I think the best way to do that is not to change NBC or CBS. That’s not possible. It is to help launch and support other media outlets, conservative media outlets, where people can actually get the truth, like Daily Signal.
Bluey: Certainly we have seen tremendous growth in just the last decade for conservative media, thanks to the work of the Media Research Center. How can our listeners support your work, find more information about the organization?
Schneider: Well, you can go mrc.org. That’s the mothership. I’m with Free Speech America, but if you go to mrc.org, you can find the other entities within MRC.
Bluey: Excellent. Dan Schneider, thanks so much for being on “The Daily Signal Podcast.”
Schneider: Thanks, Rob.
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