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'Stain on the Soul of America': WH Lays Out Strategy for Combating Domestic Terrorism

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The White House unveiled the first-ever “National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism,” saying the threat is posing a challenge to “our national security, democracy, and unity.”

“Domestic terrorism – driven by hate, bigotry, and other forms of extremism— is a stain on the soul of America.  It goes against everything our country strives for and it poses a direct challenge to our national security, democracy, and unity,” President Joe Biden said in a statement on Tuesday.

He noted the strategy “lays out a comprehensive approach to protecting our nation from domestic terrorism while safeguarding our bedrock civil rights and civil liberties – values that make us who we are as Americans.”

Biden called it “a project that should unite all Americans,” adding, “Together we must affirm that domestic terrorism has no place in our society. We must work to root out the hatreds that can too often drive violence.”

He continued, “And we must recommit to defending and protecting our basic freedoms, which belong to all Americans in equal measure, and which are not only the foundation of our democracy – they are our enduring advantage in the world.”

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Organized around four pillars, the strategy focuses on “the core elements of how the U.S. Government will tackle the threat posed by domestic terrorism today.”

The first pillar includes “efforts to understand and share information regarding the full range of domestic terrorism threats.” The second involves efforts to “prevent domestic terrorists from successfully recruiting, inciting, and mobilizing Americans to violence.”

The third and fourth pillars focus on “efforts to deter and disrupt domestic terrorist activity before it yields violence” and investigating “long-term issues that contribute to domestic terrorism in our country.”

According to an unclassified threat assessment released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in March, violent extremists motivated by political or racial bias pose an “elevated threat” to the nation this year, as Axios reported.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in March, “The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now and it’s not going away anytime soon.”

He added, “At the FBI, we’ve been sounding the alarm on it for a number of years now.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Tuesday the “number of open FBI domestic terrorism investigations this year has increased significantly.”

Watch his comments below:

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He explained, “In the FBI’s view, the top domestic violent extremist threat comes from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocated for the superiority of the white race.”

The strategy comes after a review ordered by the president on his first day in office.

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