Department of Justice officials appeared to minimize the threat of leftist violence as they prepared for the “Night of Rage” the night that Roe v. Wade was overturned, according to an email obtained by The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project.
The email shows James Dunlap, former director of Security and Emergency Preparing Staff at the Department of Justice, updating personnel on the “Night of Rage” pushed by the militant abortion group, Jane’s Revenge, a group that has taken responsibility for a slew of violent attacks on pro-life groups and pregnancy centers.
“This is to advise personnel that law enforcement continues to monitor protest and counterprotest activity taking place as a result of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey,” the email said, referring to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision issued June 24, 2022.
“Some groups being monitored have declared a ‘night of rage’ and are linked to incidents involving arson and vandalism that have occurred in many regions including the DC metro area over the last few weeks,” the email continued, before emphasizing that “there is no direct threat to any DOJ facilities, and protest activity continues to focus around the area surrounding the Supreme Court. Employees should remain vigilant.”
Notably, Dunlap’s email does not mention Jane’s Revenge by name, nor does it mention that the groups perpetrating “arson and vandalism” are leftist, pro-abortion groups, despite the fact that lawmakers had called upon the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to designate members of Jane’s Revenge as terrorists, and despite even the White House’s condemnation of Jane’s Revenge’s threats of violence.
“We have demonstrated in the past month how easy and fun it is to attack,” Jane’s Revenge promised in a “communique” missive in mid June last year. “We are versatile, we are mercurial, and we answer to no one but ourselves. We promised to take increasingly drastic measures against oppressive infrastructures. Rest assured that we will, and those measures may not come in the form of something so easily cleaned up as fire and graffiti.”
“It’s open season,” the militant group promised pro-lifers, “and we know where your operations are.”
And only the week before the Jane’s Revenge missive, authorities arrested 26-year-old Nicholas John Roske of Simi Valley, California, near Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home after Roske allegedly said he wanted to kill the justice. The email does not mention Roske, Kavanaugh, or the incident.
The email also does not mention that the acts of arson and vandalism it references are pro-abortion-motivated crimes perpetrated against pro-life groups and facilities — including Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, located about a half a mile from the Supreme Court itself.
Dunlap merely refers to “some groups” without identifying what their motivations are.
“It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Biden administration stands in full support of these illegal intimidation tactics,” Mike Howell, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project, told The Daily Signal. “The fact that they knew of the violent history of these groups of degenerates and did nothing is more than an abdication of their duty, it’s joining in their cause.” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
The email obtained by Oversight was forwarded by Theresa Watson on June 24, 2022 (the day Roe was overturned) to a number of DOJ staff including Attorney General Merrick Garland’s counsel Julie Dickerson and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Maggie Goodlander. As of 2023, Dunlap serves as the DOJ’s acting deputy assistant attorney general for Human Resources.
Additionally, in response to Oversight’s request for communications on 18 USC 1507, the Oversight Project received from the U.S. Attorney’s office for D.C. only four pages of records related to the Supreme Court and section 1507 dated June 23 and 24, 2023.
This is significant, according to Samuel Dewey, counsel for the Oversight Project, because the D.Ç. US Attorney’s Office is claiming to have no such records even while DOJ staff reported that they were monitoring groups linked to arson and vandalism in relation to the “Night of Rage.”
“Under standard procedure those incidents and the unnamed group should have been promptly investigated,” Dewey noted. “There should be some records of at least investigative activities associated with these reports. If there are not, the U.S. Attorney for D.C. was not doing his job.”
As of April 15, there have been at least 84 attacks on pregnancy centers and 147 attacks on Catholic churches since the May 2022 leak of the draft opinion indicating that Roe v. Wade would soon be overturned.
The DOJ has only prosecuted a few of these incidents — asked how many attacks on pregnancy centers and churches the DOJ currently prosecuting under the FACE Act, spokeswoman Aryele Bradford pointed to only the four radical individuals charged in Florida.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which “prohibits threats of force, obstruction and property damage intended to interfere with reproductive health care services.” The FACE Act has typically been used to prosecute those accused of attacking abortion clinics, but its language also protects pro-life organizations.
In 2022 alone, the DOJ Civil Rights Division charged 26 pro-life individuals with FACE Act violations. One of these individuals was Mark Houck, a Catholic father of seven arrested by the FBI at gunpoint, in front of his sobbing children.
The FBI’s FACE Act charges against Houck stemmed from a 2021 incident outside a Philadelphia-based Planned Parenthood where Mark pushed an abortion clinic volunteer who was repeatedly harassing his son (Mark Jr). Local authorities ultimately dismissed the matter—until the Biden DOJ re-upped it in response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Houck and his wife, Ryan-Marie, told The Daily Signal they were targeted by the Biden’s DOJ in an effort to intimidate, silence, and scare the family for their pro-life work—praying outside abortion clinics for the women headed inside to abort their unborn babies.
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