Senators Introduce Bill To Combat Domestic Terrorism
U.S Senator Tim Kaine joined Senator Dick Durbin to introduce legislation to address the growing threat of white supremacists and other violent right-wing extremists.
The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act would enhance the federal government’s efforts to prevent domestic terrorism by requiring federal law enforcement agencies to regularly assess this threat and provide training and resources to assist state, local and tribal law enforcement in addressing it.
“The rise of white supremacy is an undeniable threat to the safety of our communities. In 2017, violent white supremacists brought their hate to Virginia when they marched through the streets of Charlottesville. As the threat of violent white supremacy continues to mount, we must do more to ensure law enforcement has the training and resources they need to detect, deter and investigate these acts of terrorism,” Kaine said.
According to a May 2017 intelligence bulletin by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), white supremacist extremism poses a persistent threat of lethal violence and white supremacists were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016—more than any other domestic extremist movement.
The bill requires the Justice Department (DOJ), DHS and FBI to monitor, analyze, investigate and prosecute domestic terrorist activity. The agencies would be tasked with (1) issuing joint annual reports to the House and Senate Judiciary, Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees that assess the domestic terrorism threat posed by white supremacists; (2) analyzing domestic terrorism incidents that occurred in the previous year; and (3) providing transparency through a public quantitative analysis of domestic terrorism-related assessments, investigations, incidents, arrests, indictments, prosecutions, convictions and weapons recoveries. The DOJ, DHS and FBI offices would be required to focus their limited resources on the most significant domestic terrorism threats, as determined by the number of domestic terrorism-related incidents outlined in the joint report.
The bill also requires DOJ, DHS and the FBI to provide training and resources to assist state, local and tribal law enforcement in understanding, detecting, deterring and investigating acts of domestic terrorism. The legislation also requires the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces and state, local and regional fusion centers, which coordinate with DHS, to (1) share intelligence to address domestic terrorism activities; (2) conduct annual, intelligence-based assessments of domestic terrorism activities in their jurisdictions; and (3) formulate and execute a plan to combat domestic terrorism activities in their jurisdictions. Finally, the legislation would establish an interagency task force to combat white supremacist and neo-Nazi infiltration of the uniformed services.
The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act has been endorsed by leading civil rights organizations, including Muslim Advocates, Anti-Defamation League and the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism.