The Biden administration released its new White House National Security Council plan to address “domestic terrorism” on Tuesday and pledged to focus on curbing the spread of the “militia extremism” and “white supremacy” that, the administration argues, present “most persistent and lethal threats.”
“This National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism lays out a comprehensive approach to addressing the threat while safeguarding bedrock American civil rights and civil liberties—values that make us who we are as a nation,” President Joe Biden said in a press conference, per Fox News. “We cannot ignore this threat or wish it away.”
The outlet noted that the NSC has now defined “domestic terrorism” as “activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the jurisdiction of the United States.”
Domestic terrorism is “both persistent and evolving,” that requires an “overarching approach” that seeks to identify and neutralize domestic terror threats before they come to fruition.
Although domestic terrorism can focus on a “wide range of ideas,” “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (principally those who promote the superiority of the white race) and militia violent extremists are assessed as presenting the most persistent and lethal threats,” the NSC said, adding that many domestic terrorists unite around anger with “the same segment or segments of the American community,” including “persons of colors, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, other religious minorities, women and girls, LGBTQI+ individuals, or others.”
The NSC does, it appears, include “anarchist violent extremists, who violently oppose all forms of capitalism, corporate globalization, and governing institutions, which they perceive as harmful to society,” within its pantheon of potential domestic terrorists to address.
To curb domestic terror, the Biden administration has offered a four-pronged plan, according to Fox: “understanding and sharing domestic terrorism-related information; preventing domestic terrorism recruitment and mobilization to violence; disrupting and deterring domestic terrorism activity; and confronting long-term contributors to domestic terrorism.”
Included in that plan — which is likely to cost upwards of $100 million — the Daily Mail added Tuesday, is an effort to provide retiring members of the United States military, deemed at risk of being seduced by extremism, with anti-radicalization training.
The ‘Department of Defense is incorporating training for servicemembers separating retirements in the military, who may potentially be targeted by those who seek to radicalize them,” the Daily Mail reported, quoting an unnamed administration official.
President Joe Biden was reportedly motivated to address “domestic terrorism” following the January 6th, 2021, riot at the United States Capitol, an incident that the NSC describes as a “terrorist attack.” According to the Washington Post, the Biden administration felt that its predecessor, the Trump administration, “was reluctant to confront domestic extremism, or did so by touting a false equivalency between the extreme right and Black Lives Matter, Antifa and other movements on the left. The Trump-era counterterrorism strategy did mention domestic extremism, and a Homeland Security report from that time called violent white supremacy ‘one of the most potent forces driving domestic terrorism.’”
The administration has already ramped up investigations into “domestic terror” groups. According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, “the total number of domestic terrorism investigations increased to 2,000 from 1,400 at the end of last year” per the Washington Post, including around 500 investigations into individuals who allegedly participated in the Capitol riot.
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