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AG Garland announces plans to combat domestic terror

Jun 15, 2021

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Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the Biden administration plans to combat domestic terror Tuesday morning.

Details on the plan can be found here.

Administration officials said the Department of Justice had also implemented a new system to “methodically track” domestic terrorism cases nationwide within the FBI.

“In the FBI’s view, the top domestic violent extremist threat comes from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocated for the superiority of the white race,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said.

The Justice Department was also evaluating whether the administration should recommend Congress pass a specific domestic terrorism law. Right now, the Justice Department relies on other statutes to prosecute ideologically motivated violence by people with no international ties.

“We are focused on violence, not on ideology,” Garland said. “In America, espousing a hateful ideology is not unlawful. We do not investigate individuals for their First Amendment protected activities.”

The government’s new plan also includes an effort to identify government employees who may pose a domestic terrorism threat, with a number of federal agencies working on new policies and programs to root out potential domestic extremists in law enforcement and in the military.

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Merrick Garland, United States Attorney General: “The two most lethal elements of the domestic violence extremist threat are racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists and militia violent extremists. In the FBI’s view, the top domestic violent extremist threat comes from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocate for the superiority of the white race. The actions that agencies are taking in support of the federal other national strategy are held together by several core principles. First, we are focused on violence, not on ideology. In America, espousing a hateful ideology is not unlawful. We do not investigate individuals for their First Amendment protected activities. As a national strategy makes clear, safeguarding our country’s civil rights and liberties is itself a vital national security imperative. We do not prosecute people for their beliefs. Across the world, extremist or terrorist labels have at times been affixed to those perceived as political threats to the ruling order. But there is no place for partisanship in the enforcement of the law. The Justice Department will not tolerate any such abuse of authority. Our focus as members of the Department of Justice and as a federal government is to prevent, disrupt and deter unlawful acts of violence, whatever their motive. As the national strategy makes clear, there is no place for violence as a means of resolving political… differences in our democracy. The long-term issues that contribute to domestic terrorism in America must be addressed to ensure that this threat diminishes over generations to come. To diffuse the underlying causes of domestic terrorist attacks, we must promote a society that is tolerant of our differences and respectful in our disagreements. Attacks by domestic terrorists are not just attacks on their immediate victims. They are attacks on all of us collectively aimed at rending the fabric of our democratic society and driving us apart. To confront the menace they pose, we must understand and share information regarding the full range of threats we face, prevent domestic terrorists from successfully recruiting, inciting and mobilizing Americans to violence. We double and expand our efforts to deter and disrupt domestic terrorism activity before it yields violence and address the long-term issues that contribute to domestic terrorism in our country.”


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