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Biden administration looks to FEMA to help combat domestic terrorism in wake of Capitol attack

February 18, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 22.7%. 1 min read.

The Biden administration is leaning on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help state and local authorities combat domestic extremism in the United States.

"There is an urgency and a priority coming directly to the interagency that was not there under the Trump administration" when it comes to the focus on domestic extremism, a DHS official told CNN, adding that individual agencies were working on the issue at the operational level, but there was "no real leadership" coming from the top.

DHS is considering additional operational improvements to combat domestic extremism, such as, expanding training, providing technical assistance to local jurisdictions for threat assessment investigations, and developing strategies to combat the influence of false online narratives, according to the administration official.

In January, President Joe Biden tasked the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to compile a comprehensive threat assessment, coordinated with the FBI and DHS on domestic violent extremism.

Shortly after Labor Day 2019, former acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan unveiled the department's counterterrorism strategy, outlining the ongoing threats from foreign terrorism and focusing on domestic terror threats, particularly White supremacism.

The most significant terrorism threat currently facing the nation comes from lone offenders and small groups inspired by domestic extremist beliefs, including those based on false narratives spread on online and through social media, a DHS spokesperson told CNN.

Last September, a DHS whistleblower, Brian Murphy, accused top Trump political appointees at the department of trying to alter a report to downplay the threat posed by White supremacists and instead emphasize the role of leftist groups due to concerns about how the initial language would reflect on the President, according to a complaint first reported by CNN.

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