December 9, 2022

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING:Biden administration announces first-ever national strategy for countering domestic terrorism

Joseph BIDEN
Joseph BIDEN

The Biden Administration on Tuesday announced the release of the first-ever National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.

The comprehensive framework for the U.S. Government and partners to counter domestic terrorism prioritizes the safety and civil liberties of those nation’s citizens.

See below for what they are saying:

Former Officials and Experts

Michael Chertoff, Former Bush DHS Secretary: “This strategy reflects a balanced and vigorous approach to defusing what have emerged as the most dangerous terror threats in the last several years.” [Statement, 6/15/21]

Juan Zarate, Former Bush NSC Deputy National Security Advisor: “The Nat’l Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism soberly confronts the growing threat of extremist violence in our midst. Critical to recognize the domestic threat, prevent/disrupt attacks, and confront ideologies/movements that inspire violence. Foreign enemies will exploit.” [Tweet, 6/16/21]

Juliette Kayyem, Former Obama DHS Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs: “First, it focuses on a specific issue: violence. While it gives due course to underlying hate, it also recognizes that the use of violence, or threat of it, is of primary importance. … Second, it may be the most honest reflection of the insider threat — radicalization in the military and law enforcement — that I’ve ever seen. … Third, I really appreciate its focus on disruption and deterrence. … Fourth, there are other important aspects to this: working with social media platforms, understanding the demographic and societal shifts that lead to violent extremism, etc.” [Tweet, 6/15/21]

Elizabeth Neumann, Former Trump DHS Assistant Secretary for Threat Prevention and Security Policy: “So today, I feel a great sense of RELIEF that what should have been done 2-3 yrs ago is finally complete. And HOPE that we can begin the hard work of reducing the threat and building resilience in our communities.” [Tweet, 6/15/21]

Olivia Troye, Former Pence Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor: “While the implementation will be key in whether we succeed in countering the rise of #domesticterrorism happening across our country, this strategy is a good first step in admitting we have a problem. Thank you President Biden & team.” [Tweet, 6/15/21]

Farah Pandith, Former Obama State Department Special Representative to Muslim Communities and Bush NSC Director: “.@WhiteHouse releases a new, broader, sustainable and well researched strategy to deal with new era in domestic threat landscape.” [Tweet, 6/15/21]

Miles Taylor, Former Trump DHS Chief of Staff: “This is a bold step by the Biden Administration, and a welcome one.” [MSNBC, 6/15/21]

Mary McCord, Former Obama DOJ Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security: “I think it serves an important signaling function, first that this administration recognizes the threat from domestic extremist violence and domestic terrorism. … Secondly, it acknowledges that this administration is going to put that threat at the highest level and respond to it and put it in an equivalency to other terrorist threats, international terrorist threats. And that means not just a whole-of-government approach, but a whole-of-society approach.” [Media Article, 6/15/21]

Peter Bergen, Vice President at New America: “These are all commonsense measures which will help to reduce the scourge of domestic terrorism. Most importantly the new strategy shows that the US government has finally adopted an overall approach to counter the threat posed by the violent extremists living among us.” [Media Article, 6/15/21]

Daniel Byman, Senior Fellow at Brookings: “The new domestic terrorism strategy is a serious document–right mix of the aspirational and the practical. Nice to see the administration taking this seriously.” [Tweet, 6/15/21]

Nathaniel Gleicher, Former Obama NSC Director: “A strong message — it’s good to see a combination of responses to direct threats (eg, enforcement against active groups) and approaches to longer-term, systemic challenges (such as rebuilding trust in American democracy).” [Tweet, 6/15/21]

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Senior Advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies: “Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, chief executive of consulting firm Valens Global, said he helped advise the Trump administration’s DHS framework and was pleased with the Biden White House’s new governmentwide strategy. ‘It will make the country safer,’ he said.” [Media Article, 6/15/21]

Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Director of the Polarization and Extremism Research Innovation Lab at American University: “The strategy marks a leap forward for the United States, bringing us closer to the approaches used by our allies overseas to combat far-right extremism.” [Media Article, 6/15/21]

Brian Hughes, Associate Director of the Polarization and Extremism Research Innovation Lab at American University: “It’s the first ever strategy of its kind. And crucially it gives special consideration to progams that build community resilience and reduce the social conditions that foster radicalization in the first place. That’s huge.” [Tweet, 6/15/21]


Axios: White House releases first national strategy for countering domestic terrorism
“Why it matters: It’s the first national plan for countering what the White House is calling ‘the most urgent terrorism threat the United States faces today,’ echoing previous assessments by Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray and the intelligence community.”

BloombergGarland Says Domestic Terror Focus Is Violence, Not Ideology
“The federal government’s efforts to combat domestic terrorism are focused on stopping violence, not policing ideology, Attorney General Merrick Garland said as the Biden administration unveiled its strategy to prevent events such as the Jan. 6 Capitol siege from happening again.”

USA Today: ‘We are focused on violence’: Biden administration releases domestic terror strategy
“‘First, we are focused on violence, not ideology,’ Attorney General Merrick Garland said Tuesday in an address at the Justice Department. ‘We don’t investigate people for their First Amendment activities. … There is no place for violence in resolving political differences in our democracy.’”

Wall Street Journal: Biden Administration Lays Out Broad Strategy for Targeting Domestic Terrorism 
“Senior administration officials said their strategy is directed at violent extremists from the left and right alike. ‘We’ve based this strategy on hard evidence,’ said a senior administration official, adding that the approach aimed ‘to counter those who seek to use violence to achieve their political ends.’”

Washington Post: Biden’s domestic terrorism strategy details unprecedented focus on homegrown threats
“Although the document zooms in on anti-government and white supremacist extremists — the main drivers of domestic terrorism attacks — officials emphasized that the strategy is ‘agnostic as to political ideology.’”


Derrick Johnson, NAACP President: “As white supremacy remains rampant across communities of color, it is encouraging to hear the Attorney General today announcing a new strategy to combat domestic terrorism. (1/2) White supremacy continues to spread like wildfire across Facebook and other online platforms, where domestic terrorists recruit and plot acts of hate and violence. Hate has no place in our society, and we must act to eradicate it. (2/2)” [Tweet, 6/15/21]

Katrina Mulligan, acting Vice President at the Center for American Progress and Former DOJ National Security Division Director for Preparedness and Response: “This strategy is exactly the road map we need to combat the pervasive threat of violence fueled by white supremacist extremism … The Biden administration has set the right tone here by stressing that there is simply no governmental tolerance of violence as an acceptable mode of seeking political or social change.” [Statement, 6/15/21]

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League: “Domestic violent extremism is the nation’s top terrorism threat and the Biden Administration’s new strategy is an excellent step forward in addressing it, building on their significant progress to date. They have moved quickly to mitigate this threat through prioritizing reforms at DHS, and adding an office to the White House to specialize in addressing domestic violent extremism – among other measures.” [Statement, 6/15/21]

American Jewish Congress: “We welcome @WhiteHouse’s new National Domestic Terrorism Strategy. Domestic terrorism is the greatest threat facing the Jewish community & our country. @POTUS’s focus on this danger is critical to ensuring we adequately counter it.” [Tweet, 6/15/21]

Simon Clark, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress: “Enormously impressive work. Good to see the Domestic Policy Council, led by @AmbRice46, taking the lead in tackling the long-term contributors of domestic terrorism: racism and bigotry, gun violence, radicalization and the gaps in civic education.” [Tweet, 6/15/21]

Global Project Against Hate and Extremism: “[I]t’s heartening to see the Biden Administration recognize the transnational scope of this very serious threat, and provide a plan on how to tackle it.” [Statement, 6/15/21]

Sherrilyn Ifill, President of the NAACP Legal and Defense Fund: “Overdue, but welcome. “Violent, far-right extremists have posed the deadliest and most active domestic terror threat for more than 15 yrs.”” [Tweet, 6/15/21]

Vidhya Ramalingam, CEO of Moonshot: “After giving the past 12 years to the fight against this form of terrorism, it is really remarkable to see this level of commitment in the new National Strategy today. There is more work to do, much further to go, but today – let’s mark the moment.” [Tweet, 6/15/21]

Elected Officials

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee: “I commend the Biden Admin. for taking steps to address the substantial and growing threat of domestic terrorism in the U.S.—including by recognizing the particular threat posed by violent white supremacists. We cannot continue to ignore this deadly menace in our own backyard.” [Tweet, 6/15/21]

Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism: “We are encouraged by the Biden-Harris Administration’s release of the first-ever National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism – a promise the President made on day one. Though we have long lived with the scourge of domestic terrorism, the January 6th attack on the Capitol showed the clear need for a strategy to combat a new strain of this threat. The Homeland Security Committee has long focused on the threats posed by domestic terrorists and it is promising that we now have an executive branch that is making countering these threats a national priority. We look forward to examining this strategy in depth and hearing more details from the Department of Homeland Security, the Intelligence Community, and the other agencies tasked with this important work and the bold plans they have to implement the strategic vision that President Biden has set forth.” [Statement, 6/15/21]

Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Congressman André Carson (D-IN), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation: “Today, the Biden administration has taken another critical step in countering this threat by releasing the first ever national strategy on domestic terrorism, which will implement a whole-of-government approach. It seeks to improve the understanding and sharing of domestic terrorism-related information, prevent recruitment and the mobilization to violence, disrupt and deter domestic terrorism activity, and confront the long-term contributors to domestic terrorism, including extreme and violent ideologies which are often fomented online and through social media.” [Statement, 6/15/21]

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: “I applaud President Biden for setting forth this bold, whole-of-government approach to combating the terrifying resurgence of political white supremacy and spread of domestic violent extremism. … For several years, I have been urging the Executive Branch to address violent white supremacy in a coordinated and serious manner that remedies the shortcomings in our current approach.  Less than six months into his term, President Biden has committed himself to doing just that.” [Statement, 6/15/21]

Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ): “Domestic terrorism has grown significantly in recent years and poses a serious threat to our national security. President Biden’s plan will help counter these emerging threats while protecting the civil rights and liberties of all Americans.” [Tweet, 6/15/21]

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