Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told the Senate Appropriations Committee that white supremacist groups pose the most serious domestic national security threat in the United States.
“Domestic violent extremists pose an elevated threat in 2021 and in the FBI’s view, the top domestic violent extremist threat we face comes from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocate for the superiority of the white race,” Garland said during the hearing.
Garland rejected concerns from Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, who asked if protests in cities like Portland, Oregon were being investigated with “equal vigor.”
“We don’t care what the ideology is. Violations of the law are pursued and are prosecuted. I think it’s fair to say that in my career as a judge, and in law enforcement, I have not seen a more dangerous threat to democracy than the invasion of Capitol,” Garland said. “There was an attempt to interfere with the fundamental passing of an element of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power. And if there has to be a hierarchy of things that we prioritize, this would be the one we’d prioritize. It is the most dangerous threat to our democracy. That does not mean that we don’t focus on other threats.”
The Department of Justice has prosecuted more than 400 participants from the Jan. 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol.
The Department of Homeland Security is creating a domestic terror branch within the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis.
Senator Jack Reed says that the DHS should track social media to root our plots and monitor disinformation from Russia.
“They are using the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol in such a manner to amplify narratives in furtherance of their policy which is to disrupt and disunited and to indeed destroy, if they could, our democracy,” the Senator said.
“We are intensely focused on the information with respect to Russia’s effort to sow discord and disunity in our country,” Mayorkas responded. “And of course, we’re bringing an all of government effort to respond to that, and I would welcome the opportunity to brief you in a more appropriate forum to address information we have in that regard.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently committed to conducting an internal review of its own workforce to root out any extremist views within its ranks.