In a letter addressed to President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) has called on the 46th President of the United States to authorize an “executive order identifying white supremacy and violent extremism as a critical threat.”
In doing so, Speier asks that all involved agencies (parties) are directed “to update the background investigation process to incorporate a review of social media information to identify white-supremacist or violent-extremist ties.”
She also asks for Austin to “direct the military services to establish procedures to review the social media activity of recruits as part of the accessions process, including the development of guidance to assist recruiters in identifying extremist groups and activities.”
Speier says that she has become concerned about the relationship between military service members and violent extremist groups in recent years.
During a hearing held by the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee in Feb. 2020, witnesses revealed that dangerous white supremacist groups have attempted to recruit military servicemembers for 10+ years.
A recent survey showed that nearly “one-third of servicemembers have seen signs of white supremacy or racist ideology in the Armed Forces,” the letter mentioned.
Speier also noted that the Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Government are not correctly screening service members and others with connections to violent extremists and white supremacy.
Such ties include the attack on the nation’s Capital on Jan.6. Many of the terrorist groups that participated in the riot used social media platforms to plan their attack and recruit others to join in, including service members.
“The screening processes for service members and others in critical national security positions are outdated,” the letter continued. “Modernizing background investigations to bring them in line with these new realities should be among your highest priorities as the new administration commences.”