Attorney General Merrick Garland is considering whether to propose a new criminal statute to prosecute domestic terrorists, among other tactics he has pledged to use to combat the threat of today. increase in violent extremism in the country.
This year, the FBI has seen an increase in the number of open terrorism cases in the country: racially and ethnically motivated attacks and those stemming from militias are the two leading causes of death. best. In a speech at the Department of Justice on Tuesday, Garland compared the threat to foreign violence.
“We will never take our eyes off the risk of another devastating attack by foreign terrorists,” he said. “At the same time, we must respond to domestic terrorism with the same sense of purpose and dedication.”
Citing the department’s ongoing investigation into the January 6 riots at the Capitol, Garland pledged Tuesday that the department would go after extremists in the country with the same “determination and dedication.” “
The measures announced by Garland are part of the Justice Department’s new strategy to combat domestic terrorism, part of the Biden administration’s concerted effort to combat the rise of extremism. politically motivated.
The administration has organized its national strategy around four pillars to analyze, prevent, disrupt, and confront the catalysts for extremism. It emphasizes increased sharing of information and intelligence between law enforcement and technology companies.
Administration officials, during a press briefing with reporters on the strategy, pointed out that the rise in politically, ethnically, and racially motivated domestic acts of terrorism in the United States over the past years , including the congressional baseball shooting that took place four years ago this week, when a gunman opened fire on members of Congress because they were Republicans.
Garland’s assessment of the matter follows a March report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which concluded in 2021 that domestic terrorism posed a “high threat” to the homeland. The report found that social and political factors, including the coronavirus pandemic and the “grave impact of the violent encroachment of the United States Capitol,” will almost certainly “motivate extremists.” domestic violence joins more violence.
As the administration deploys its strategy to confront domestic terrorism, the FBI sent a warning Tuesday to Congress that impatience and disgruntled QAnon followers can progress from “digital soldiers” to creating real-world violence.
“We assess that some QAnon DVE followers may begin to believe that they can no longer ‘trust the plan’ mentioned in QAnon’s posts and that they are obligated to change from serve as ‘digital soldiers’ to engage in real-world violence — including FBI review concludes.
But he promised that “we don’t prosecute people for their beliefs”, adding that “the labels of ‘extremist’ or ‘terrorist’ around the world are sometimes attached to those who are perceived as a threat.” political threat to the governing order, but there is no place. because of partisanship in law enforcement. The Department of Justice will not tolerate any such abuse of power.”
The US will also join the Call to Action in Christchurch along with the international community and tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google. Named for the New Zealand city that suffered the loss of 51 people in March 2019 at the hands of a terrorist who attacked two mosques, the initiative outlines voluntary actions that governments and online service providers can do to reduce the spread of violent extremist content online.
The Trump administration has refused to enter into the partnership.
Garland on Tuesday also pledged to reconvene the Executive Committee on Domestic Terrorism, originally set up by former Attorney General Janet Reno in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombings as a way to facilitate sharing information between agencies.
The new strategy also focuses on better ways to screen and test federal government employees, law enforcement members, and services who may pose a domestic terrorist threat from within. important positions.
The Department of Defense will incorporate training for retired or separatist service members to help them identify extremist targeting efforts and mobilize them to enhance their skills.
A review of attorneys’ statements, military service records and court documents obtained by CBS News found that at least 51 of those arrested for participating in the January 6 riots at The Capitol is a current or former member of the military. These, one are active-duty members, 4 are currently part-time members of the Army Reserve or National Guard, and 45 have served in the military.
Similarly, CBS News learned that at least 12 of those arrested were former police officers or were employed as law enforcement officers at the time of the riots, according to court documents and filings. job. Prosecutors also charged at least one current fireman and a retirement fireman.
A senior administration official told reporters at a briefing Monday that the Office of Professional Management, the federal government’s human resources arm, will review and consider updating recruitment forms. used to improve screening and removal of candidates who may be domestic terrorists or potentially pose an insider threat. The Departments of Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security are also considering steps to improve their vetting procedures.