Confirming its belief that white supremicists pose the biggest domestic threat, the Department of Homeland Security announced a new national strategy that includes helping Americans report family and friends who “potentially” are being “radicalized.”
An unnamed senior DHS official who spoke with reporters Tuesday said the department “will work to improve public awareness of federal resources to address concerning or threatening behavior before violence occurs.”
The “see something say something” campaign aimed a stopping Islamic terrorism could be applied to domestic threats, the official said.
“This involves creating contexts in which those who are family members or friends or co-workers know that there are pathways and avenues to raise concerns and seek help for those who they have perceived to be radicalizing and potentially radicalizing towards violence,” said the senior DHS official.
At least $100 million will be channeled to DHS, the DOJ and the FBI “to ensure that the Federal Government has the analysts, investigators, prosecutors, and other personnel and resources it needs to thwart domestic terrorism,” according to a White House fact sheet.
‘The top domestic violent extremist threat’
Also on Tuesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the Justice Department’s strategy for countering domestic terrorism, reiterating that the biggest threat comes from white supremacists.
He also referenced the investigations of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
“In the FBI’s view, the top domestic violent extremist threat comes from racially or ethically motivated violent extremists specifically those who advocate for the superiority of the white race,” Garland said.
In his inauguration speech, Biden warned of a “rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.”
The senior DHS official said authorities will look for threats of violence across social media platforms, scrutinizing the “relationship between online recruitment, radicalization and violence in the physical world.”
The official insisted the DHS strategy “is agnostic as to political ideology.”
“What matters is when individuals take their political or other grievances and turn that — unacceptably, unlawfully — into violent action,” the official said.
DHS, the official said, will “redirect the focus of intelligence agencies on internal threats.”
“We are investing many agencies of the government and resourcing them appropriately and asking our citizens to participate,” the official said. “Because, ultimately, this is really about homeland security being a responsibility of each citizen of our country to help us achieve.”
See Garland’s remarks:
Attorney General Merrick Garland says domestic terrorists fighting for the “superiority of the white race” are the greatest threat to the United States. pic.twitter.com/0UDkBJXAoQ
— The Recount (@therecount) June 15, 2021
In April, a senior official said the Justice Department was “actively considering” whether to seek a new law allowing prosecutors to bring specific charges for plotting and carrying out acts of domestic terrorism.
Reacting to the announcement, noted civil-liberties journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out opposition to such a law has been raised from across the political spectrum. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is among the opponents.
Arguing for the law, Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., chairman of the powerful Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, emphasized the need to counter “right-wing” groups.
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