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February 28, 2023

Republicans Jam Through Extreme, Misguided Homeland Security Oversight Plan that Ignores Growing Domestic Terrorism Threat

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, offered a straightforward, two-sentence amendment to the Committee Republicans’ partisan draft Oversight Plan for the 118th Congress to ensure that domestic terrorism and the rise in violent antisemitic incidents continues to get the attention they deserve by the Committee. However, instead of adopting the commonsense amendment, Committee Republicans struck all references to “domestic terrorism” and “domestic violent extremists” and added politically charged and extreme language essentially accusing Federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, of being politicized and abusing Americans’ First Amendment rights.  

“Homeland Security should not a partisan issue,” said Ranking Member Thompson. “My straightforward, two-sentence amendment would have ensured that the Committee gives necessary attention to domestic terrorism and violent antisemitic attacks as significant homeland security threats and commits to examining threats from domestic violent extremists. 

“We have an obligation as a committee to prioritize this dominant homeland security threat, but today the Republicans refused to ensure that the Committee continues its bipartisan record from the previous Congress to give dedicated attention to domestic terrorism.  The Republican oversight plan is fatally flawed. Committee Democrats will not sit idly by and allow this extreme Republican agenda to dominate our Committee. We will stick by the well documented facts that domestic terrorism is a threat to this nation and pursue a legislative and oversight agenda that helps this country mitigate the threat.”

Since 2010, domestic violent extremists adhering to various violent extremist ideologies, including antisemitism, have conducted at least 47 lethal attacks that have killed 152 people in the United States. And for many years now, Trump and Biden officials have testified that domestic terrorism is a persistent and pervasive threat.  

In 2019, FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was nominated by former President Trump, testified before this Committee that domestic terrorism cases were at “an all-time high.” Also, after the January 6 Attack on the Capitol, he also stated, “January 6 was not an isolated event. The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now and it’s not going away anytime soon.”

Similarly, the Trump Administration’s October 2020 Homeland Threat Assessment states, “[t]he primary terrorist threat inside the United States will stem from lone offenders and small cells of individuals, including Domestic Violent Extremists and foreign terrorist-inspired Homegrown Violent Extremists.”  Also, the Director of National Intelligence’s 2021 threat assessment stated that U.S.-based lone actors “pose a greater immediate domestic threat” than the Sunni terrorist threats of ISIS and al Qaeda overseas.

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