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Analyst who attended meetings with Stephen Miller quits after white nationalist ties surface: report

Leaked emails reveal the former DHS official chatted with prominent alt-right figures like Richard Spencer


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Shira Tarlo
September 4, 2018 9:47PM (UTC)

Ian M. Smith, a former Department of Homeland Security policy analyst, resigned last week after he was linked to white nationalists as they planned various events in leaked emails published by The Atlantic. Additional reporting by the Washington Post reveals that Smith attended multiple immigration policy meetings at the White House and was high enough in the department to attend immigration meetings with senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller.

According to The Post, Smith mostly attended White House meetings in place for absent superiors and did not "provide significant input." But one government official told the paper that he "wasn't just some low-level schlub who didn't do anything."

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As a Trump immigration policy analyst, Smith focused on refugee issues and temporary worker visas, according to The Post. He also helped with an effort to penalize legal immigrants who use tax credits or accept government benefits.

Smith reportedly quit his job last Tuesday after being probed about messages he exchanged and received from white nationalists. The emails reportedly showed the former official chatting with prominent alt-right figures like Richard Spencer and self-proclaimed "white-advocate" Jared Taylor, who founded the white nationalist publication American Renaissance, whom he appeared to refer to as "Richard and JT."

The emails did not show Smith or Spencer interacting, and Spencer told the magazine over the phone, "to my knowledge, I've never met Ian Smith. I get roped in to all sorts of email conversations, I receive too many emails every day for me to respond to."

In one exchange, Smith appeared to joke about using Nazi slang.

The Post writes:

In one email from 2015, Smith responded to a group dinner invitation whose host said his home would be "judenfrei," a German word used by the Nazis during World War II to describe territory that had been "cleansed" of Jews during the Holocaust.

"They don't call it Freitag for nothing," Smith replied, using the German word for "Friday," according to the Atlantic. "I was planning to hit the bar during the dinner hours and talk to people like Matt Parrot, etc.," Smith added, a reference to the former spokesman for the neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party.

Smith was also included as a recipient in email threads alongside Marcus Epstein, who entered an Alford plea in 2009 for assaulting a black woman in Washington, and Devin Saucier, an editor at American Renaissance, a white nationalist publication. The Atlantic reported that Epstein declined to comment, and Saucier did not respond to a request for comment.

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The Atlantic notes that Smith worked for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, an anti-immigration legal organization associated with the right-wing Federation for American Immigration Reform (fair).

"The Department of Homeland Security is committed to combating all forms of violent extremism, especially movements that espouse racial supremacy or bigotry," DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton said in a statement to The Atlantic. "This type of radical ideology runs counter to the Department's mission of keeping America safe."

Smith told The Atlantic in an email, "I no longer work at DHS as of last week and didn't attend any of the events you've mentioned."

Smith is not the only Trump administration employee with white nationalist ties to quietly get the boot from the White House. A Trump speechwriter named Darren Beattie was fired less than two weeks ago after after it was revealed that he had spoken at a white nationalist conference. Several days later, it was revealed that Trump's top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, invited white nationalist Peter Brimelow to his home for his birthday party.

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Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

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