Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) cosponsored Senator Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) bicameral 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.
“It’s crucial that all levels of law enforcement have the resources and training they need to address domestic terrorism, especially the growing threat from far-right extremists and white supremacists. This legislation will require that the federal government share intelligence and resources with state, local and tribal agencies to help identify and thwart terror threats before tragedy strikes.”
The bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
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 Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act authorizes the Justice Department (DOJ), DHS, and FBI offices that are responsible for monitoring, analyzing, investigating and prosecuting domestic terrorism. The bill also requires these offices to issue joint annual reports to the House and Senate Judiciary, Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees that assess the domestic terrorism threat posed by white supremacists; analyze domestic terrorism incidents that occurred in the previous year and provide transparency through a public quantitative analysis of domestic terrorism-related assessments, investigations, incidents, arrests, indictments, prosecutions, convictions and weapons recoveries. The DHS, DOJ 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 legislation also codifies the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee (DTEC), an interagency task force which was originally created by the Department of Justice in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing.
Additionally, the bill 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, the Anti-Defamation League and the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism.