Justice Department creates new position to handle domestic terror cases

The Justice Department is creating a new position to organize investigations into domestic terrorism, a "clear and present danger" to the public. 

Michael Lopez/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin/AP/File
Several people wait for a ceremony for the National POW/MIA Recognition Day held by the Wainwright statue to begin Sept. 18, 2015, at the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center in Walla Walla, Wash. The Justice Department is creating a new position to organize investigations into domestic terrorism, a "clear and present danger" to the public.

The Justice Department is creating a new position to coordinate investigations into violent homegrown extremism, a department official said Wednesday.

Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, head of the department's national security division, said that while the international terror threat occupies the public attention, federal officials remain just as concerned about the prospect of violence from Americans motivated by anti-government views and racist ideologies.

"We need to make sure we have the mechanisms in place so that we can continue to remain just as focused on the domestic terrorism threat while addressing the international terrorism threat," Carlin said in a question-and-answer session after a George Washington University speech.

The new position, the Domestic Terrorism Counsel, will serve as the main point of contact for U.S. Attorney offices nationwide and will work to identify trends across cases, help shape strategy and analyze legal gaps that need to be closed.

Carlin's division in the last year has been heavily focused on the Islamic State, bringing roughly 60 cases to date tied to followers of the terror group.

But the speech Wednesday was an unusually blunt acknowledgment from the department's top national security official that Americans inspired by racial hatred — but without any ties to established terror groups — remain a "clear and present danger" to the public. He noted that more Americans have been killed in recent years in attacks by domestic extremists than in attacks associated with international terrorist groups.

Though he said experts have identified commonalities among the Islamic State followers and domestic extremist groups, including their ability to attract disaffected individuals, the legal framework for dealing with them is intentionally different.

The Justice Department routinely charges Islamic State sympathizers with providing material support to foreign terror groups, though there's no comparable statute for aiding white supremacist organizations in part because of First Amendment concerns.

"To do that for a group here would mean, based on who the group is and what they're doing, that the entire group is designated as the terrorist group," he said.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Justice Department creates new position to handle domestic terror cases
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2015/1014/Justice-Department-creates-new-position-to-handle-domestic-terror-cases
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe