Combating the rising threat of white supremacist terrorism

The Anti-Defamation League is helping authorities track hate groups online as the country struggles with an increase in mass shootings, many of which are being carried out by white supremacists.
8:08 | 08/21/19

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Transcript for Combating the rising threat of white supremacist terrorism
bring my father's m15 to school and kill seven people at a minimum. A 15 year old Florida boy's alleged threat to shoot up his school read by the police officer arresting him. His mother standing by his side. He's just a boy playing video games. This case one of several alleged close calls in just the past few days. He talks about how he wants to die in his text messages. And when he dies, he wants to kill 100 people, at least 100 people. Have fun doing it. Multiple alleged would-be mass shooters all arrested by law enforcement before they could carry out their deadly plans. Bodycam video recording one of the dramatic take downs. Do you have any weapons that we need to know about? Potential tragedies averted just weeks after gunmen in el Paso and Dayton left 31 dead. Suspects in Connecticut, Florida and Ohio all thwarted due to tips from the public. The Connecticut suspect released a statement saying, in part, that he had no intention of committing a mass shooting. As the country struggles with an increase in mass shootings, a clear picture is emerging. Some of these killings are being plotted or carried out by white supremacists. The us has experienced a significant increase in violent activity from individuals and groups of individuals who believe in the white supremacist ideology. The director of the FBI acknowledging as much last month. A majority of the domestic terrorism cases we've investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence. But the approach to addressing the issue has, so far, been limited. In fact, not only has funding that can be used to address this threat been decreased, but the U.S. Government through its anti-immigration and immigration enforcement priorities has actually played right into the ideological agenda of the white supremacist movement. To help fill the void, nonprofits have stepped in to play watch dog, keeping an eye on online hate groups. So this is our heat map, which means hate, anti-extremism, anti- semitism and terror. So it allows us to track in real time hate crimes wherever they're happening across the country. Well, if this is an indication of hate crimes, we're in a bad place right now. I mean we've seen some pretty alarming trends in recent years. Last year the FBI reports a 17 percent increase in hate crimes overall. At their headquarters in new York, the anti-defamation league monitors and tracks extremist ideology all over the country. I found this one guy who we are not sure where he is. But he seemed to be threatening acts of mass violence toward women. And what would you do with that information? We will look at it. We'll assess it. If we think it's a credible threat, we'll pass it on to law enforcement But even with complex monitoring algorithms, and a vigilant team watching constantly for potential threats, people regularly fall through the cracks. People like James Reardon, Jr arrested days ago for allegedly threatening a mass shooting at this Ohio jewish community center. The 20 year old self described white supremacist from Youngstown appeared to be a normal kid to local reporter Graig Graziosi who has met with Reardon several times. He seemed like a nice kid who was politically engaged. When I saw him when he got older it wasn't just political engagement anymore. It was ideological fervor. Reardon even attended the 2017 charlottesville unite, the right rally seen here in this national geographic documentary. He was happy to be associated with white ethno states with the idea of white supremacy. He was all about it. But he seemed to only get law enforcement's attention after posting this disturbing video on Instagram. Showing himself firing a semi-automatic weapon seemingly acting out his plan to kill. The caption on the post sounding like the way a report might cover his attack. Police identified the Youngstown jewish family community shooter as local white nationalist. The post also tagged the location of his alleged intended target. The FBI raiding Reardon's house, where they say they found a large collection of semi-automatic rifles, dozens of rounds of ammunition, a gas mask and bullet proof armor. He was taken into custody on local harassment and aggravated menacing charges. Reardon has plead not guilty. White supremacy is an ideology based on the belief that white people of European descent are intellectually and physically superior to nonwhites. But more importantly the ideology calls for action. I've never met you know a white supremacist with positive self-esteem. Christian picciolini became a self-proclaimed white supremacist as a teenager in the late 1980s, starting a white power rock band, seen in this HBO documentary, "Skin heads usa, soldiers of the race war." And sharing his philosophy on CNN in 1992. I believe we're warriors and we're fighting for a great cause which is the white race. He says the white supremacist movement has gained momentum, attracting new recruits with the euphemism "White nationalist" to literally whitewash their hateful ideology. Nobody really likes to be associated with white supremacy out in the open. So they come up with terms like white nationalist or alt right to make themselves sound a little bit more palatable. Christan abandoned white supremacy in his early 20s, and now works to disengage youth from extremist ideologies. I can tell you that the antidote is not more alienation. It is not pushing them further away. We have to intercept these people before they get so desperate that they have to latch on to an ideology. In the wake of the El Paso shooting, president trump expressing his distaste for hate in general. I'm concerned for any group of hate. I don't like it. And tasking the justice department with targeting social media. Work in partnership with local state and federal agencies, as well as social media companies, to develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike. But Democrats say the trump administration has systematically cut back on resources used to address threats from domestic extremists. I think president trump isn't doing enough. He's hollowed out the department that is in charge of actually preventing these mass terror attacks that are launched domestically by groups that often are spewing hate white supremacy and white nationalism. Presidential candidate and senator Kirsten Gillibrand says the department of justice should infiltrate white supremacy groups. What was recommended after 9/11 is that our FBI our CIA and our local law enforcement work together with command centers where all data all information is shared in real time so that we could support terrorism that needs to continue. And that kind of partnership between local and federal law enforcement does work. Earlier this month, the las Vegas joint terrorism task force along with federal authorities arrested this 23 year old self described neo-nazi who was allegedly plotting to bomb a las Vegas synagogue or gay bar. I have my bushmaster ar-15 rifle. Investigators say a search of his home turned up illegal guns, bomb making materials and a notebook outlining plans for attacks. Battling white supremacy is neither new or easy. This picture from the 1960s hangs in the adl's New York office. Another dark time in American history when leaders found the courage and conviction to lead. There's no sort of silver bullet that will stop this threat. You've got to realize that it takes an all hands on deck effort. ABC news learning authorities have stopped what they say were two more potential pass shootings.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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