President Biden will have his work cut out for him as he attempts to address the issues of white supremacy, far-right militias, and domestic terror with action even as a newly elected Congress struggles to identify who qualifies as a domestic terrorist and decide what new legal tools, if any, to authorize in that endeavor, reports Politico.
People close to the transition say the Capitol insurrection drove home the acuteness of the threat for the new administration, which has already decided to elevate the issue by making it a top priority for the National Security Council. The shift is unlikely to be drastic, or even instant. The new NSC and Justice Department teams won’t be able to reorient toward countering domestic terrorism until they are fully settled in and briefed on the latest intelligence.
National security experts say Biden could confront the threat three ways: Direct the Justice Department, FBI and National Security Council to execute a top-down approach prioritizing domestic terrorism; pass new domestic terrorism legislation; or do a bit of both as Democrats propose a crack down on social media giants like Facebook for algorithms that promote conspiracy laden posts.
Current and former officials agree that there needs to be some kind of NSC-driven process to address the rising threat, but there are key differences of opinion over how much to separate the issues of domestic and international terrorism when considering a holistic approach to the problem. The United States has no domestic terrorism statute, so federal law enforcement agencies use other legal tools, such as hate crime and organized crime statutes, to go after violent domestic extremists.