On Tuesday (June 15), the Biden administration unveiled its plan to combat the growing threat of domestic extremism. The anti-domestic terrorism rollout follows the FBI’s recent warning to lawmakers that homegrown extremists may get more violent. The White House’s plan includes an emphasis on preventing violence from extremists.
“What we are focused on is violence,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told NBC News. “The incitement of violence, the drive to violence, the commission of violent acts,” he added. Specifically, more attention will be given to social media posts and cross-agency coordination, though no law imposing criminal penalties for supporting or participating in domestic terrorism was announced.
President Joe Biden released a statement, announcing the first-of-its-kind National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. “It lays out a comprehensive approach to protecting our nation from domestic terrorism while safeguarding our bedrock civil rights and civil liberties –– values that make us who we are as Americans,” Biden’s statement said in part.
When he first came into office, Biden ordered a 100-day review of how federal level law enforcement agencies handle domestic terrorism threats and labeled extremists from the US as a top threat to national security.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland gave a speech in connection with the rollout, making clear the DOJ would be supporting efforts to combat domestic terrorists, without impeding on people’s First Amendment rights when it comes to free speech online. In his remarks, Garland vowed to “reinvigorate” the domestic terrorism executive committee within the Justice Department first put in place in 1995 after the Oklahoma City bombing.
This latest plan uses four pillars to guide government action: sharing information across agencies, disrupting recruitment strategies by domestic extremist organizations, investigating those organizations, and confronting root causes of extremism–– racism and bigotry.
“We cannot promise that we will be able to disrupt every plot, defuse every bomb or arrest every co-conspirator before they manage to wreak unspeakable horror, but we can promise that we will do everything in our power to prevent such tragedies,” Garland said.