Sep 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DHS chief warns of "emerging threat of the domestic violent extremist"

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told MSNBC on Sunday the "threat landscape" has evolved in the 21 years since the 9/11 attacks from concerns about foreign terrorists to domestic extremists.

What he's saying: "Back when 9/11 occurred, in those years we were very focused on the foreign terrorist, the individual who sought to do a severe harm to enter the United States and do us harm," Mayorkas said in his interview with MSNBC's Jonathan Capehart.

  • "It's then evolved, we began to be more and more concerned about the individuals already resident in the United States radicalized by a foreign terrorist ideology," Mayorkas continued.
  • "Now we are seeing are seeing an emerging threat ... over the last several years of the domestic violent extremist," he added.
  • "The individual here in the United States radicalized to violence by a foreign terrorist ideology, but also an ideology of hate, anti-government sentiment, false narratives propagated on online platforms, even personal grievances."

The big picture: Mayorkas pledged to make tackling domestic violent extremism a "National Priority Area" following the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection and announced last year the DHS was directing $77 million to state and local authorities to combat the rising problem.

  • The Department of Justice opened a unit to investigate acts of domestic terrorism earlier this year after the DOJ and FBI reported that the threat of and investigations into acts of domestic terrorism had risen since 2020.

Go deeper: Federal officials release guide to identify U.S.-based violent extremists

Go deeper