Jan 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration unveils plan to combat domestic extremism


Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced at a briefing on Friday that the Biden administration will roll out a three-pronged interagency plan to assess and combat the threat posed by domestic violent extremism.

Why it matters: The federal government's approach to domestic extremism has come under scrutiny in the wake of the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. In his inaugural address, Biden repudiated political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism, vowing to defeat them.

What they're saying: "The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and the tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we have long known. The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat," Psaki said.

  • "The Biden administration will confront this threat with the necessary resources and resolve. We are committed to developing policies and strategies based on facts, on objective and rigorous analysis, and on our respect with constitutionally protected free speech and political activities," she continued.

How it works:

  1. Biden has sent a request for newly confirmed Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to conduct a threat assessment in coordination with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security that Psaki said will produce a "fact-based analysis on which we can shape policy."
  2. The White House National Security Council will be tasked with building capacity to tackle and disrupt extremist networks. Homeland Security adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall has asked Joshua Geltzer, a former NSC counterterrorism director, to lead a 100-day investigation.
  3. The administration will work to mobilize other factions of the government to address "evolving threats, radicalization, the role of social media, opportunities to improve information sharing, operational responses and more."
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