The agency founded because of 9/11 is shifting to face the threat of domestic terrorism | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

The agency founded because of 9/11 is shifting to face the threat of domestic terrorism

On a Saturday morning in August 2019, a 21-year-old White man with ear protectors, safety glasses and an AK-47-style rifle walked into a crowded Walmart in El Paso, his pockets bulging with ammunition. He had driven hundreds of miles across Texas, prosecutors say, because he wanted to kill Latinos.

Kevin McAleenan, the acting homeland security secretary, was at a Coast Guard picnic in Virginia that day, and soon the urgent messages began arriving. A sinking feeling of horror set in as the magnitude of the attack became clear. “It was devastating,” he said.

Twenty-three people were killed in the worst attack on Hispanic Americans in modern U.S. history.

About 5,000 U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees live in El Paso, and six lost family members that day. “To have an individual attack us, at one of the home bases of our agency and specifically going after Hispanic Americans who make up a majority­ of our employees in that area, was very personal for us, and it galvanized an effort that was already underway,” McAleenan said.

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