A former anti-terror specialist with the CIA has criticized the latest ad from the National Rifle Association, arguing that it encourages extremism.
Cynthia Storer, who worked at the CIA until 2007 and was heavily involved in the war on terror, commented on Twitter about the ad, which the NRA posted on its Facebook on June 12, Newsweek reports.
The ad features spokeswoman Dana Loesch, who also works at the right-wing news site The Blaze, and encourages viewers to join the organization.
"They use their media to assassinate real news," Loesch states in the NRA ad, according to Newsweek. "They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler."
She goes on to allege that the left is wrongly accusing President Donald Trump of being racist, sexist, xenophobic and homophobic.
"The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom is to fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth," Loesch adds in the recruitment ad.
Storer, who now teaches counter-terrorism at Johns Hopkins University, focused on combating al-Qaida and other extremist groups from the early 1990s.
"The NRA is feeding an us vs them narrative of the kind that fuels all extremist movements," Storer tweeted on June 29. "I should know."
She went on to warn both sides in the debate.
"Extremism sparks extremism in return," she added. "Its a vicious cycle and the world burns. Left and right, head these words."
Someone questioned Storer's focus on right-wing comments, and she responded by saying that "the [l]eft isn't urging people to buy guns to start a revolution."
A study jointly conducted by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, a nonprofit media center, and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting found on June 21 that right-wing extremists plotted or carried out twice as many terrorist attacks in the U.S. than Islamic extremists over the past nine years. Between 2008 and 2016, one third of right-wing attacks resulted in fatalities, compared to 13 percent of attacks carried out by Islamic extremists.
However, Islamic extremists were responsible for more deaths, the study noted. The figures were 90 deaths compared to 79 respectively, according to Newsweek.
"This project quantifies just how irrational Trump and the GOP's fixation on 'radical Islamic terrorism' as the greatest security threat is," a statement from the Investigative Fund notes.
Other advocacy groups, including the Dangerous Speech Project, agreed with Storer.
"New [NRA] ad seeks to divide. Language like "violence of lies" & "clenched fist of truth" weaken civil discourse," the free speech group tweeted on June 29.
Susan Benesch, the head of the group, cited the example of how Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont responded to the news that a man who had supported his presidential election campaign opened fire on Republican congressmen on June 14.
"Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values," Sanders said at the time, going on to condemn the violence as "despicable."