White House Unveils First National Strategy to Combat Domestic Terrorism | US politics


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Five months after storming the US Capitol in Washington, the White House released its first national strategy to combat domestic terrorism.

The framework, released Tuesday by the National Security Council, describes the threat as now more serious than potential attacks from abroad, but emphasizes the need to protect civil liberties.

In anticipation of Republican objections that Joe Biden could use counterterrorism tools to persecute Donald Trump supporters, the strategy also includes the need to address domestic terrorism in an “ideologically neutral” manner.

It cites examples such as “an anti-authority extremist” who ambushed, shot and killed five police officers in Dallas in 2016; a lone gunman (and leftist activist) who wounded four people while training baseball in Congress in 2017; and an “unprecedented attack” on Congress on January 6, 2021.

“You hit the political spectrum,” said a senior administration in a media conference. “We recognize the congressional baseball shootout, the attack on Dallas cops, as much as we recognize the attack in Charlottesville and the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

“So for us it is not the motivating politics or ideology that counts, more important for the strategy and its implementation. It is when political grievances turn into acts of violence and we stay focused on that. “

The strategy, due to be officially announced Tuesday by Attorney General Merrick Garland, follows an instruction from Biden on his first full day in office to review the government’s efforts to combat domestic terrorism, which is considered to be “the United States’ most pressing terrorist threat States “states stand today”.

An expert intelligence and law enforcement threat assessment, the summary of which was released in March, found the two deadliest elements to be white racists and anti-government violent extremists.

A senior administration said: “It has also been found that violent extremists who promote white supremacy have the most enduring transnational ties and may be in frequent contact with violent extremists overseas.

“However, it is important to emphasize that the ODNI. provided study [Office of the Director of National Intelligence] found no robust link between domestic terrorism and foreign actors. Today this is largely an inside-out problem, not an outside-in problem, although we know that our opponents are trying to sow divisions in our society. “

Broken glass and debris littered the US Capitol in Washington after the January 6 attack.Broken glass and debris littered the US Capitol in Washington after the January 6 attack. Photo: Shawn Thew / EPA

The strategy has four pillars: efforts to understand and share information on the full range of domestic terrorism threats; Efforts to prevent native terrorists from successfully recruiting, inciting, and mobilizing Americans to violence; Efforts to deter and halt domestic terrorist activities before they result in violence; long-term problems that contribute to domestic terrorism that need to be addressed to ensure that this threat diminishes over generations.

The prevention aspect includes a focus on working with big tech companies like Facebook, which has been heavily criticized for allowing right-wing hate groups to thrive and coordinate, even before the January 6 uprising.

One official said, “We as a government see things differently from a particular technology company. Any particular tech company often knows its own platform very well, but the government sees things like threats of violence across platforms … between the government and the tech sector already started and will continue. “

Biden’s budget for fiscal 2022 includes more than $ 100 million in additional resources for analysts, investigators, prosecutors, and other staff and resources to thwart domestic terrorism.

The government says it is improving employee screening to improve methods of identifying domestic terrorists who may pose “inside threats”. The Defense, Justice and Homeland Security departments are working to “ensure domestic terrorists are not employed in our military or law enforcement agencies and are improving screening and review processes”.

The strategy does not take a position on whether there should be a new law criminalizing domestic terrorism, but leaves the matter to a judicial review.

Despite his plea for neutrality, a White House factsheet cites Biden’s key laws – the American Rescue Plan, American Jobs Plan, and American Families Plan – as “relief and opportunities” that can help alleviate long-term distrust of democracy and their ability to counter democracy, counteract deliver.

It adds, “The government will also work to find ways to counter the polarization that is often fueled by disinformation, misinformation and dangerous conspiracy theories online, and to support an information environment that fosters healthy democratic discourse.”

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