A new approach to homegrown terrorism


Javed Ali, Resident Policy Maker, University of Michigan

Javed Ali is a policymaker who is resident at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and has more than 20 years of professional experience in Washington, DC on national security issues, including senior positions in the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Council.

Thomas S. And EricNonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council

Thomas S. Warrick is a non-resident senior fellow with the Middle East Program Group at the Atlantic Council and director of the DHS Future Project. From August 2008 to June 2019, Mr. Warrick served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Counterterrorism Policy at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a professional member of the Supreme Executive Service.

Opinion – In the wake of the January 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol Building, President Biden said during his inaugural speechWe must face and we will be defeatedDomestic terrorism and white supremacy.

Manage it Already moving forward, with Anti-terrorism veterans like Ross Travers, Josh Giltzer, And Claire Linkins – respected experts with whom we have worked closely on the careers of our government – have been to key roles in the White House as part of this new effort. But what is not yet clear are the specifics of any new approach, how long it will take to implement, and whether they will have to wait for new legislation or a national committee.

Given the shortcomings of the current U.S. approach to domestic terrorism, the Biden administration’s focus must include it all: changes in legal and intelligence policy, resources, and bureaucratic fronts. However, some changes are more urgent than others, and prioritization has to be bureaucratically tough in ways that may surprise some people.

Even before January 6, there was ample evidence that The threat of domestic terrorism It grew throughout the United States. After January 6, there were clear indications that groups involved in the violence were preparing for further attacks targeting federal and state officials and buildings.

On the legal front, one of the most The aspects are hotly debated Is whether we need a new law that explicitly criminalizes domestic terrorism. Existing Definition of Domestic terrorism has no criminal penalties attached to it, so federal prosecutors file charges under criminal laws related to murder, explosives, assault, and destroying federal property and trespassing charges. Attempting to consolidate the existing law will require support from Congress and will need to be carefully crafted to respect the constitution. Future administrations should not be able to violate the law by using it against peaceful protesters exercising their rights. This will take some time.

Second, we need to consider changes in intelligence policy. The United States does not have a domestic intelligence organization like the British Security Service, known as MI-5. US citizens enjoy constitutional protections, and law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the US intelligence community are limited in what they can do to gather “raw” information about potential threats before violence occurs.

Posts shared publicly on social media about potential violent threats most of the time, will not be automatically dealt with by FBI; Unless the platform owners or concerned citizens are informed; Even so, there are limits to what the FBI and Department of Homeland Security can do with such information. The White House already has the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for new leadership and coordination Intelligence assessment On domestic terror, and to reinforce the statements that April HainesAlready confirmed as Director of National Intelligence (DNI), she has focused on increasing the focus of her organization.

Third, examining how the government is currently structuring to deal with domestic terrorism should be part of this new plan. Currently, the FBI is the primary federal agency for investigating and analyzing domestic terrorism. Nobody is suggesting that this should change, even though domestic terrorism is only one of those in the FBI Many priorities.

With the FBI expanding its own resources on domestic terrorism, other departments and agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) will need to do more. Similar to the statements made by DNI Haines, Alexander Mayurkas, Who should be on the Senate Quickly confirm As Minister of Homeland Security, his department has pledged to increase its focus on homegrown terrorism. State and local governments also need to play a vital role, especially against private militias.

As management looks to develop an action plan that includes these elements and more, we strongly urge that you do not wait for this plan until management issues a formal strategy. former National Counter-Terrorism Strategies It took more than a year – the threat is so urgent.

The administration should also immediately begin the Emergency Supplementary Appropriation process to obtain additional resources this year for the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (for transfer to state and local governments) and the Department of Justice. Waiting for the next annual appropriations cycle will cost a year the nation cannot afford.

The events of January 6 indicate that it is time for the Biden administration to introduce a new and fully resourced approach to tackling domestic terrorism that respects the constitution but prevents violent extremists from undermining or removing it. The American people may be politically divided, but bipartisan support and action is needed for the suggestion that violent extremism is not the answer for everyone who says they support the constitution.

Read more National Security Insights, Perspectives, and Analysis at Cipher Brief

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