How DHS Says It’s Responding to Domestic Terrorism

November 20, 2018

U.S. Department of Homeland Security logo in Washington, DC. (Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The Department of Homeland Security offered a written response to FRONTLINE and ProPublica about its efforts to address domestic terrorism threats, and specifically far-right terrorism. It said that for a little more than a decade, the department has been developing terrorism prevention programs to address “all forms” of violent extremism. It also pointed to the White House’s National Strategy to Counter Terrorism, released in October, which noted “racially motivated extremism” —  although not specifically white supremacist extremism — as a form of violent domestic extremism that’s on the rise: 

“The United States has long faced a persistent security threat from domestic terrorists who are not motivated by a radical Islamist ideology but are instead motivated by other forms of violent extremism, such as racially motivated extremism, animal rights extremism, environmental extremism, sovereign citizen extremism, and militia extremism. Such extremist groups attempt to advance their agendas through acts of force or violence…[D]omestic terrorism is on the rise, with an increasing number of fatalities and violent nonlethal acts committed by domestic terrorists against people and property in the United States.”

In its statement, DHS said that while state and local law enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is responsible for investigating domestic terrorism, the department conducts training for local law enforcement and outreach to community members to “prevent radicalization and mobilization to violence.”   

“The Department of Homeland Security is committed to combating all forms of violent extremism, especially movements that espouse racial supremacy or bigotry,” said Press Secretary Tyler Houlton. “DHS takes all threats to the homeland, both foreign and domestic, very seriously and to suggest otherwise is an affront to the men and women of DHS that work tirelessly every day to ensure the safety of the American people. We will continue to work hand-in-hand with our federal, state and local partners to carry out our mission of keeping our country safe.”


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