National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism Part 2 (p. 15 - 30)

Today we continue our discussion with the second half of the White House's Strategy for countering domestic terrorism. This half will focus mainly on the strategic pillars and specific goals of the strategy. Read pages 15 through 30 on the pdf here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/National-Strategy-for-Countering-Domestic-Terrorism.pdf


Strategic Pillars


"Today’s domestic terrorism threat is complex, multifaceted, and evolving. There is no single action or single part of the U.S. Government that can address the entirety of that threat. The following four pillars, implemented in an integrated manner across relevant parts of the Federal Government and in close coordination with non–Federal partners, will guide the U.S. Government’s response to the threat summarized above. As noted above, implementation of this Strategy will proceed in parallel with, and be complementary to, the work of law enforcement to investigate suspected criminal activity and prosecute those who break our laws.


Pillar One: Understand and Share Domestic Terrorism-related Information


Strategic Goal 1.1: Enhance domestic terrorism–related research and analysis. Addressing any threat effectively requires understanding it thoroughly. For today’s shifting and diverse domestic terrorism threat, that task is imperative. The Federal Government continues to augment and improve how the domestic terrorism threat is analyzed and understood. Analyses of key trends and trajectories are now regularly generated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security, with support from the National Counterterrorism Center and others as appropriate, and then shared widely across the Federal Government. These analyses benefit from the continued tracking of domestic terrorism–related investigations and prosecutions across Federal law enforcement and nationwide and, moreover, will benefit from increased exploration of publicly available, threat–related information, consistent with applicable law and guidelines. Additionally, a comprehensive understanding of the domestic terrorism threat landscape requires facilitating a systematic provision of information and data to the appropriate parts of the Federal Government from state, local, tribal, and territorial partners who often identify and disrupt manifestations of the domestic terrorism threat, even if they do not always use the same labels to describe it. That is why the Federal Government is enhancing its ability to receive and analyze domestic terrorism threat information provided by state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as improving its coordinated dissemination of that information. Doing so will inform more fully not only executive branch officials, but also the Congress and the American people as they seek to understand the domestic terrorism threat facing the nation today.


Strategic Goal 1.3: Illuminate transnational aspects of domestic terrorism. In today’s interconnected world, very little remains wholly within a single country’s borders, and domestic terrorism is no exception. Terrorists and their supporters increasingly connect with each other via Internet–based communications platforms, recruit and encourage mobilization to violence across international boundaries, and point to ideologically similar foreigners as inspiration for their acts of violence. Some domestic violent extremists have sought ties and connections to individual violent extremists overseas. Aspects of the domestic terrorism threat we face in the United States, and in particular those related to racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism, have an international dimension. Identifying, confronting, and addressing that international dimension must be part of a comprehensive approach to tackling the domestic terrorism challenge.

The Department of State, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, is working with other components of the Federal Government and with our foreign allies to assess whether additional foreign entities linked to domestic terrorism can, under the relevant statutory criteria, be designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations or Specially Designated Global Terrorists. That includes analyzing the latest intelligence to inform those considerations through a process that will continue as more foreign intelligence is collected and disseminated by various agencies. Doing so would bar U.S. persons from supporting these foreign entities or receiving training from them. Moreover, the Department of the Treasury, in coordination with law enforcement and other interagency partners, is exploring ways to enhance the identification and analysis of financial activity associated with domestic terrorists and their foreign counterparts, as well as enhancing engagement with financial institutions on domestic terrorist financing, including through existing provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act. Appropriate elements of the intelligence and law enforcement communities have already identified, and are now implementing, more robust information exchanges with foreign partners regarding the foreign connections to the U.S. domestic terrorism threat and those partners’ own experiences addressing any comparable threats within their countries. The U.S. Government has thus prioritized obtaining from foreign partners credible intelligence and law enforcement information regarding international support for domestic terrorism in the United States, capturing it in written reporting, and sharing that intelligence and information appropriately across the Federal Government. That effort complements an increased emphasis on the sharing of relevant information with foreign partners, where appropriate, on aspects of the domestic terrorism threat of international relevance. We can also learn from our international partners’ challenges and successes in disrupting plots and responding to attacks, integrating that expertise into our own planning and operations.


Pillar Two: Prevent Domestic Terrorist Recruitment and Mobilization to Violence


Recruiting and mobilizing individuals to domestic terrorism occurs in many settings, both in–person and online. These activities are increasingly happening on Internet–based communications platforms, including social media, online gaming platforms, file–upload sites, and end–to–end encrypted chat platforms, even as those products and services frequently offer other important benefits. The widespread availability of domestic terrorist recruitment material online is a national security threat whose front lines are overwhelmingly private– sector online platforms, and we are committed to informing more effectively the escalating efforts by those platforms to secure those front lines.

We are addressing domestic terrorism–related online recruitment and mobilization to terrorism while respecting foundational constitutional protections for free speech and association. The U.S. Government already provides information to the private sector and other non–governmental entities in a wide array of contexts, such as cybersecurity, international terrorism, and critical infrastructure defense. Likewise, the U.S. Government provides information to assist online platforms with their own initiatives to enforce their own terms of service that prohibit the use of their platforms for domestic terrorist activities. Continuing to enhance the domestic terrorism–related information offered to the private sector, especially the technology sector, will facilitate more robust efforts outside the government to counter terrorists’ abuse of Internet–based communications platforms to recruit others to engage in violence.

Availability of domestic terrorism–related recruitment material online is almost certain to persist at some level. That is especially true on the platforms that explicitly encourage or tacitly condone such material, as well as on end–to–end encrypted platforms where such material can be harder to identify, even by those operating such platforms. Dealing with the supply is therefore necessary but not sufficient: we must address the demand too. Today’s digital age requires an American population that can utilize essential aspects of Internet–based communications platforms while avoiding vulnerability to domestic terrorist recruitment and other harmful content deliberately disseminated by malicious actors online, such as international terrorist groups like al–Qa’ida trying to incite imminent violence or hostile foreign powers seeking to undermine American democracy. Consequently, we will pursue innovative ways to foster and cultivate digital literacy and related programs, including educational materials and interactive online resources such as skills–enhancing online games. This can prove a useful component to forging the resilience that may help to stem domestic terrorism recruitment and mobilization to violence.

Pillar Three: Disrupt and Deter Domestic Terrorism Activity


The Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has long been central to the U.S. Government’s efforts to address the threat of domestic terrorism, including by conducting investigations and prosecutions where the law and the facts make those steps appropriate, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation remains the lead Federal law enforcement and intelligence agency for investigating all forms of terrorism, including domestic terrorism. Beyond particular intelligence, investigatory, and prosecutorial work, Federal law enforcement serves as a critical resource for countering domestic terrorism nationwide.

Federal law enforcement is enhancing its efforts to ensure that Federal investigators and prosecutors nationwide are well positioned to tackle this escalating threat, and both the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation are receiving additional resources to support this enhanced effort. The President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget includes significant additional resources for the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation to ensure that they have the analysts, investigators, and prosecutors they need to thwart domestic terrorism and do justice when the law has been broken. In the meantime, Federal law enforcement is working to identify interim measures that will allow the necessary flexibility in movement of human resources to ensure that the domestic terrorism threat is addressed not only thoroughly but also aggressively. Moreover, the Department of Justice plans to augment its provision of training and other resources to U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country to match the heightened priority already being assigned by the Department to domestic terrorism investigations and prosecutions. Furthermore, the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation will sustain the already robust collaboration between counterterrorism investigators and prosecutors and hate crimes investigators and prosecutors. The Department of Justice will strengthen and expand the use of the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee to ensure nationwide interagency collaboration on countering domestic terrorism and ensure that Anti–Terrorism Advisory Councils across the country focus on the elevated domestic terrorism threat, ensuring that every U.S. Attorney’s Office has the expertise, training, and guidance needed to identify and address domestic terrorism to the fullest extent of the law. The Department of the Treasury, in coordination with interagency partners, will continue to support law enforcement action against domestic terrorists and their foreign supporters through the provision of financial intelligence, information, and analysis.

Even as Federal law enforcement does critical work to protect Americans from domestic terrorism threats and a wide range of other challenges, it is often state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement that serve as the first line of defense against domestic terrorism in communities across the United States, much as they do for many other threats to public safety. Therefore, it is essential that we empower these vital non–Federal partners to effectively address today’s domestic terrorism threat and to anticipate tomorrow’s evolution of that threat.


Pillar Four: Confront Long-Term Contributors to Domestic Terrorism


Domestic terrorism can take many forms, inspired by a wide range of violent ideologies whose common, dangerous feature is the resort to violence rather than the peaceful expression of views and resolution of differences. Individuals subscribing to violent ideologies such as violent white supremacy, which are grounded in racial, ethnic, and religious hatred and the dehumanizing of portions of the American community, as well as violent anti–government ideologies, are responsible for a substantial portion of today’s domestic terrorism. Tackling the long–term contributors to this challenge demands addressing the sources of that mobilization to violence – with leadership from relevant domestic–facing agencies, coordinated by the White House’s Domestic Policy Council and in close partnership with civil society.

That means tackling racism in America. It means protecting Americans from gun violence and mass murders. It means ensuring that we provide early intervention and appropriate care for those who pose a danger to themselves or others. It means ensuring that Americans receive the type of civics education that promotes tolerance and respect for all and investing in policies and programs that foster civic engagement and inspire a shared commitment to American democracy, all the while acknowledging when racism and bigotry have meant that the country fell short of living up to its founding principles. It means setting a tone from the highest ranks of government that every American deserves the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that our Declaration of Independence recognizes as unalienable rights. And it means ensuring that there is simply no governmental tolerance – and instead denunciation and rejection – of violence as an acceptable mode of seeking political or social change.

Although the U.S. Government must do everything it can to address enduring challenges like racism and bigotry in America, the Federal Government alone cannot simply “solve” these challenges quickly or on its own. On the other hand, tackling the threat posed by domestic terrorism over the long term demands substantial efforts to confront the racism that feeds into aspects of that threat. We are, therefore, prioritizing efforts to ensure that every component of the government has a role to play in rooting out racism and advancing equity for under–served communities that have far too often been the targets of discrimination and violence. This approach must apply to our efforts to counter domestic terrorism by addressing underlying racism and bigotry.

That imperative includes ensuring that domestic terrorism threats are properly identified and categorized as such and addressed accordingly. That is a determination that must be made free of all forms of bias. All Americans deserve Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement that approach their critical tasks without any racial bias or any other biases and in strict adherence to the law. That is why we are working to bolster efforts to ensure that law enforcement operates without bias as it identifies and responds to domestic terrorism threats and, in turn, that law enforcement provides for the public safety of all Americans.


We are also prioritizing efforts to improve the well–being and safety of everyone who calls America their home. We have worked with the Congress to deliver immediate financial relief to millions of Americans, thus contributing to an equitable economic recovery that can counter the economic dislocation and even despair felt by many Americans. Our continued efforts will augment and accelerate the essential work of economic recovery and sustainable development, alleviating over time the sentiments that some domestic terrorists deliberately use to recruit and mobilize. Demonstrating that our government can deliver for all Americans is crucial to restoring confidence in our democracy.


These efforts speak to a broader priority: enhancing faith in government and addressing the extreme polarization, fueled by a crisis of disinformation and misinformation often channeled through social media platforms, which can tear Americans apart and lead some to violence. A hallmark of this democracy is that political change must be pursued through nonviolent means grounded in the principles upon which the United States was founded. Enhancing faith in American democracy demands accelerating work to contend with an information environment that challenges healthy democratic discourse. We will work toward finding ways to counter the influence and impact of dangerous conspiracy theories that can provide a gateway to terrorist violence."


Keep up with the discussion of this strategy on the forum here: https://www.biedsociety.com/forum/the-us-and-north-america/federal-law-enforcement

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