- Four-pronged plan includes $100 million in the proposed 2022 budget to add personnel at DOJ and DHS
- Key to effort is a plan to improve the sharing of threat information across all levels of government
The Biden administration unveiled a national strategy Tuesday to combat domestic terrorism, a plan that leans heavily on bolstering the ranks of prosecutors, analysts and investigators across the government to confront the elevated threat.
The four-pronged plan includes $100 million in the proposed 2022 budget to add personnel at the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security, while attempting to screen existing government employees “who might pose insider threats.”
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Administration officials said the Pentagon, DOJ and DHS are “pursuing efforts to ensure domestic terrorists are not employed within our military or law enforcement ranks and improve screening and vetting processes,” administration officials said.
Attorney General Merrick Garland is scheduled to outline the plan in more detail later Tuesday at the Justice Department.
Key to the effort is a plan to improve the sharing of threat information across all levels of government, a crucial failure in the run-up to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots, a special Senate report found.
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Last week, a joint Senate committee concluded that U.S. intelligence officials failed to warn of potential violence at the U.S. Capitol, leaving law enforcement unprepared to contend with a violent mob that wanted to overturn the 2020 election.
“Capitol Hill police were put in an impossible situation,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “Without adequate intelligence, training and equipment, they didn’t have the tools they needed to protect the Capitol. That’s the hard truth.”
The report published by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Rules committees offered a pointed assessment of security and intelligence failures surrounding the attack by former President Donald Trump’s supporters.
The administration’s domestic strategy announcement comes after President Joe Biden called for a new plan in the first days of his presidency – just two weeks removed from the deadly Capitol assault orchestrated by pro-Trump rioters who sought to intervene as Congress certified Biden’s election.
Rioters included members of the Proud Boys, an extremist group with ties to white nationalism, the paramilitary group Oath Keepers and other far-right organizations.
Since then, more than 400 suspects have been charged in one of the largest investigations in U.S. history.
“The comprehensive strategy provides a nationwide framework for the U.S. government and partners to understand and share domestic terrorism-related information; prevent domestic terrorism recruitment and mobilization to violence; disrupt and deter domestic terrorism activity; and confront long term contributors to domestic terrorism,” according to a White House summary of the plan.
U.S. intelligence and law enforcement authorities assembled the plan, which built on a March report that found that the most lethal threats were posed by “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists who advocate for the superiority of the white race and anti-government or anti-authority violent extremists,” including militia groups.
“The strategy we are releasing today is carefully tailored to address violence and reduce the factors that lead to violence, threaten public safety, and infringe on the free expression of ideas,” according to the administration plan.
“In a true democracy, violence cannot be an acceptable mode of seeking political or social change.”