Biden Administration Types Blueprint to Fight Home Extremism

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WASHINGTON – The Biden government plans to strengthen information exchanges with tech companies, potentially expanding the hiring of intelligence analysts, and improving the screening of government officials for links to domestic terrorism, as part of a highly anticipated plan expected to be released on Tuesday in which details how the federal government should fight extremism.

President Biden ordered a review of how federal agencies are responding to local extremism shortly after taking office in order to more aggressively acknowledge a national security threat that has increased since the January 6 uprising in the Capitol.

The 32-page plan summarizes steps recommended by national security officials – including strengthening relationships with social media companies and improving the exchange of information between law enforcement agencies – in one draft of how more effectively identifies extremists in the country after years of increased concentration can be on foreign terrorists.

“We cannot ignore or wish away this threat,” wrote Biden in the strategy document. “Preventing domestic terrorism and reducing the factors that drive it requires a multifaceted response across the federal government and beyond.”

But the plan issued by the National Security Council entitled “National Strategy to Combat Domestic Terrorism” also left some questions unanswered.

The new strategy was widely expected to provide a position on whether the government should enact a domestic terrorism law that would allow prosecutors to investigate and bring charges against local extremists rather than relying on charges of assault, murder and hate crimes . Instead, the strategy suggests that the government will focus for the time being on strengthening the methods the government is already using to combat extremism, despite Mr Biden calling for such a law during the presidential campaign.

While there is growing bipartisan support to equip prosecutors with more law to crack down on extremists, civil rights activists have expressed concern that new laws would lead to government abuse and personal rights violations. The administration referred the problem to the Ministry of Justice for further review, according to the planning document.

“New penal laws in particular should only be pursued after careful consideration of whether and how they support the government in overcoming complex, multi-faceted challenges such as domestic terrorism, and only in compliance with the protection of civil liberties,” according to the strategy document.

Other efforts to investigate extremism, including a commission to investigate the Capitol attack, have been thwarted by Republicans, who feared the potential political harm of increased awareness of an attack by a pro-Trump mob.

The rating, released on Tuesday, lists attacks perpetrated by individuals from across the political spectrum, including the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas in 2016, a shootout at a congressional baseball game in 2017, and the siege of Congress on Jan. January.

But the strategy was also the latest in a series of reviews by Mr Biden that identified white racists and militia groups as the deadliest threats among local extremists. According to the document, the threat posed by such groups has not diminished.

Such individuals will continue to be motivated by “narratives of fraud in the recent general election, the encouraging effects of the violent breach of the US Capitol, conditions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, and violent conspiracy theories,” and will almost certainly “try to do this this year.” become violent, ”says the strategy document.

The plan also describes how domestic extremists connect with groups overseas who share a similar ideology.

Racist extremists “who promote white supremacy” are among the native extremists with “the most persistent and worrying transnational ties because people with similar ideological beliefs exist outside the United States,” according to the strategy document.

The Treasury Department is instructed to investigate those overseas who may be sponsoring domestic extremists. The strategy also says the government will work to use terror watch lists to crack down on groups overseas who support extremists in the United States.

The government also called for more than $ 100 million in the 2022 budget for the potential hiring of prosecutors, investigators and analysts.

A key part of the plan also instructs the federal government to look into its own ranks. The Department of Homeland Security recently announced that it would undergo an internal review to stamp out extremism and white supremacy from its ranks. The Department of Defense has also set up a task force to look into ways to better screen recruits and educate soldiers who might be targeted by extremist organizations.

The government will “step up the screening process” of military recruits and those who wish to join federal law enforcement or receive a security clearance “to prevent people who pose domestic terrorism threats from being placed in positions of trust” , it says in the strategy document.

The results echo previous analysis by the Biden administration, which was quick to emphasize the threat posed by domestic extremists, a departure from an environment under President Donald J. Trump where some homeland security analysts said they were discouraged from even using the term “domestic” to mention terrorists.

Under Trump, federal agencies were also pressured to divert resources to target the anti-fascist movement and left-wing groups, despite law enforcement officials concluding that far-right and militia violence posed a more serious threat.

The Biden administration submitted an intelligence report to Congress in March confirming the testimony of these professional officials and calling for more resources to be used against such indigenous extremists.