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Biden admin launches inter-agency review of domestic extremism

Biden admin launches inter-agency review of domestic extremism

Published:23 January 2021

The Biden administration has announced an inter-agency review of domestic extremism in the wake of the January 6 Capitol Hill attack by supporters of former president Donald Trump.

Washington | The Biden administration has announced an inter-agency review of domestic extremism in the wake of the January 6 Capitol Hill attack by supporters of former president Donald Trump.

"The January 6 assault on the Capitol and the tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we have long known: The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference on Friday.

The Biden administration will confront this threat with the necessary resources and resolve, she said.

The Capitol Hill riot, which temporarily halted the counting of Electoral College votes, left five people dead and led to Trump's second impeachment. Law enforcement agencies are under scrutiny for their preparations for January 6.

“We are committed to developing policies and strategies based on facts, on objective and rigorous analysis, and on a respect for constitutionally protected free speech and political activities," Psaki said.

The initial work on Domestic Violent Extremism (DVE) will broadly fall into three areas, she said.

The first is a tasking from President Joe Biden sent to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) office requesting a comprehensive threat assessment, coordinated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on domestic violent extremism.

This assessment will draw on the analysis from across the government and, as appropriate, non-governmental organisations, Psaki said.

"The key point here is that we want fact-based analysis upon which we can shape policy. So this is really the first step in the process, and we'll rely on our appropriate law enforcement and intelligence officials to provide that analysis,” she said.

The second will be the building of an National Security Council capability to focus on countering domestic violent extremism. As a part of this, the NSC will undertake a policy review effort to determine how the government can share information better about this threat, support efforts to prevent radicalisation, disrupt violent extremist networks, and more, she said.

“There's important work already underway across the interagency in countering DVE, and we need to understand better its current extent and where there may be gaps to address, so we can determine the best path forward,” the White House press secretary said.

Psaki said the third will be coordinating relevant parts of the federal government to enhance and accelerate efforts to address DVE.

"This considered, an NSC-convened process will focus on addressing evolving threats, radicalisation, the role of social media, opportunities to improve information sharing, operational responses, and more," she said.


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