Senior law enforcement and intelligence officials will look into the threats weeks after a riot on the U.S. Capitol.
Weeks after a violent pro-Donald Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, President Joe Biden orders law enforcement and intelligence agencies to conduct a comprehensive threat assessment of violent domestic ideologies in the United States, the White House announced on Friday.
“We want factual analysis, upon which we can shape policy,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing.
The assessment will be carried out by the office of the director of national intelligence in coordination with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, she added.
Psaki said that in addition to the threat assessment, the White House will build the capacity of its National Security Council to counter domestic violent groups, including a policy review on how the federal government can best share information about the threat.
“The January 6 attack on Capitol Hill and the tragic death and destruction that has occurred have highlighted what we all know: The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing threat to national security,” Psaki said, adding that the administration will face the problem with resources, policies and “respect for constitutionally protected freedom of expression and political activities.”
The White House will also coordinate relevant parts of the government to “strengthen and accelerate efforts” to resolve the issue, Psaki added.
The disclosure is a blatant recognition of the threat to national security that officials see posed by Americans motivated by violence by extremist ideologies.
The involvement of the Director of National Intelligence, an office created after the September 11, 2001 attacks to prevent violence from international extremist groups, suggests that US officials are considering how to move to a more concerted focus on the violence of domestic threats.
The riot on Capitol Hill, which led to Trump’s second indictment last week, has raised the question of whether a federal national security apparatus that for years has acted aggressively to combat the threats from foreign terrorist groups and their supporters in the United States, is sufficiently equipped to deal with threats from domestic extremist groups. It’s an issue that has erupted periodically over the years, with various attacks – including a massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue – renewing debate over the need for a law specific to national attacks.
It is not known when the threat assessment will end or if it will rush law enforcement and intelligence to obtain new tools or authorities to address a problem that officials say has proven difficult to combat. , in part because of First Amendment protections.
FBI Director Chris Wray said last year that in the past year the deadliest violence has come from anti-government activists, such as anarchists and militiamen.
Law enforcement is under surveillance for their preparations for Jan.6, when a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the police and stormed into the Capitol. To date, more than 150 people face charges, including a man who was pictured wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt, as well as QAnon conspiracy theorists and militia members.