Following the capitol attack by many who are involved with extremist groups, DHS officials set out to address the threat of domestic terrorism in the nation. To do that, it’s now looking inside its own walls.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Monday (April 26) that it is launching an internal review to expose and get rid of white supremacist extremists within the agency. It is the latest government agency to launch such a review following the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6.
“We recognize that domestic violent extremism and the ideology, the extremist ideologies that spew it, are prevalent,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “We have a responsibility, given what we do, to ensure that that pernicious influence does not exist in our department.”
News of the internal review comes after the Pentagon finished a two-month internal investigation of its own to identify and get rid of extremists within the military. Several veterans and active service members, as well as law enforcement officers were arrested in connection with the capitol riot.
In the DHS’ review, several agencies, including Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Secret Service, and the Coast Guard will be asked to assess if extremism is prevalent among its members, The New York Times reported. DHS has over 240,000 employees and given the use of private social media pages and chat rooms, the internal review could be complicated.
Mayorkas said each agency will be asked to make a set of protocols to follow if a member is found to be involved with an extremist group, though he is “mindful of the constitutional right to free speech.”
“There is a marked difference between that right and violence in furtherance of extremist ideologies,” Mayorkas said. DHS will follow the Pentagon’s lead in holding listening sessions among officers, and developing training and resources for its employees.
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