Domestic Terrorism Analysis and the Military
The House of Representative version of the 2023 Defense Authorization bill includes a provision directing the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Defense to publish a report six months after enactment of the bill, and every six months thereafter, that analyzes and deploys strategies to combat White supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in both the military and Federal law enforcement agencies.
It is not known at this time if such a provision will be included in a Senate version of the Defense bill.
Domestic Terrorism Legislation
The Senate failed to overcome a minority filibuster (May 26th) to enable consideration of domestic terrorism legislation passed by the House of Representatives (May 18th).
Among other things, the legislation authorizes domestic terrorism offices within Justice, Homeland Secruity, and the FBI. The offices will monitor, analyze, investigate, and prosecute domestic terrorism. These offices would also jointly report on domestic terrorism, including white-supremacist-related incidents or attempted incidents.
In addition, an interagency task force would be created to to analyze and combat white supremacist and neo-Nazi infiltration of the uniformed services and federal law enforcement agencies. The FBI would specifically be required to to assign a special agent or hate crimes liaison to each field office to investigate hate crimes incidents with a nexus to domestic terrorism.
Homeland Security & Unmanned Drones
The Biden Administration announced a “plan” for addressing nefarious unmanned aircraft systems (i.e., “drones”) use within the U.S. homeland.
To the extent that this is an actual plan, the key elements appear to be:
(1) working with Congress to develop legislative measures to “expand the tools and actors” for countering UAS use, including authorities for State/local and critical infrastructure owners; and,
(2) working with Congress to enact a comprehensive criminal statute that sets “clear standards” for legal and illegal uses, closes law loopholes, and establishes adequate penalties to deter the most serious UAS-related crimes.
Removal of the FARC from Terrorist Designation
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced (November 2021) , that it is revoking the designation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTOs). The revocation provides that this action is tied to the fact that "following a 2016 Peace Accord with the Colombian government, the FARC formally dissolved and disarmed. It no longer exists as a unified organization that engages in terrorism or terrorist activity or has the capability or intent to do so." At the same time, the announcement makes separate Columbia-based organizations designated as FTOs.
AG Memo to FBI on Violence Threats Against Educators
The U.S. Attorney General sent a memo to the FBI (October 4, 2021) expressing concerns over the growing violence threats aimed at school administrators, school board members and teachers. The memo instructs federal judicial districts to convene meetings with federal/state/local/tribal leaders. The meetings are intended to discuss "strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response."
Combatting Domestic Terrorism - National Strategy
The Biden Administration released (June 2021) a National Strategy to combat domestic terrorism that is intended to guide Federal programs and actions. The overarching strategies of the plan include:
Enhancing domestic terrorism-related research and analysis;
Improve information sharing across all levels within, as well as outside, the Federal Government;
Illuminating transnational aspects of domestic terrorism;
Strengthening domestic terrorism prevention resources and services;
Addressing online terrorist recruitment and mobilization to violence by domestic terrorists;
Enabling appropriate enhanced investigation and prosecution of domestic terrorism crimes;
Assessing potential legislative reforms; and,
Ensuring that screening and vetting processes consider the full range of terrorism threats
Domestic Violent Extremism - Unclassified Assessment
The Office of Domestic National Intelligence, DOJ, and DHS released (March 2021) an unclassified summary of domestic violent extremism. The summary includes a number findings from the U.S. intelligence community. Most notably, the summary states that there are several factors that could "increase the likelihood or lethality" of domestic violent extremist attacks including "escalating support from persons in the United States or abroad, growing perceptions of government overreach related to legal or policy changes and disruptions, and high-profile attacks spurring follow-on attacks and innovations in targeting and attack tactics."
No Results Found
This website of the State Department provides the base Abraham Accords declaration setting forth principles pertaining to peace and religious tolerance within the Middle East, particularly as related to Israel. The site also includes individual related nation agreements, as well as joint agreements with Israel.
Status: The original agreements were signed in 2020 between Israel/UAE and Irael/Bahrain. There are currently 4 agreements tied to the Accords.
Posse Comitatus Act (PCA)
This is the foundational law guiding the use of the U.S. military. In general, this Act outlaws the willful use of any part of the Armed Forces to execute the law unless expressly authorized by the Constitution or an act of Congress. Per the Congressional Research Service, case law indicates that “execution of the law” in violation of the PCA occurs (1) when civilian law enforcement officials make “direct active use” of military investigators; (2) when the use of the military “pervades the activities” of the civilian officials; or (3) when the military is used to subject “citizens to the exercise of military power which was regulatory, prescriptive, or compulsory in nature.”
Status: PCA was enacted in 1878.
Handling Protest, Extremist, and Criminal Gang Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces
This is policy implemented by the U.S. Department of Defense that, among other things, prohibits members of the Armed Forces from engaging in extremist activities. Some of the banned activities in the policy include advocating/engaging in use of unlawful force or violence in support of extremist activities; supporting the overthrow of the government; demonstrating for/rallying in support of an extremist group; and liking/reposting extremist views on social media.
Status: this policy was first documented in 2009, but was update with changes effective December 20, 2021.