Homeland Security launches internal investigation of domestic violent extremism

Washington — Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Domestic violent extremism Within the department, according to a note to employees obtained by CBS News.

In a Monday message to Homeland Security (DHS) employees, the secretary wrote: “Recent events, including the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, emphasize that domestic violent extremism poses the most deadly and persistent terrorist-related threats to us today. The country. “Mallorcus called the eradication of domestic violent extremism” an urgent priority for the Biden Harris administration and this sector. ”

According to DHS, the secretary will complete a “comprehensive review of how to best prevent, detect, and respond to threats related to domestic violence extremism within DHS,” led by Chief Security Officer Richard McComb. Instructed the internal working group across ministries. ..

“Violent extremism does not exist in DHS, so we focus on urgently addressing it,” Mallorcus wrote in a message to employees.

“Just announcing it will send a very important signal to the wider community, not just the DHS workforce, that DHS has more than just a mission to domestic extremism,” DHS said. Former US Marine Corps Colonel Dave Lapin, a spokesman, told CBS News that the Trump administration had told CBS News. “It also confirms that my home is in place.”

Lapan has an internal review 60-day “standdown” for the entire service Within the US military, he was ordered by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in February.

“It’s like the Pentagon,” Lapin said. “We know that the majority of DHS are law enforcement agencies, and that militant groups are trying to hire from both law enforcement agencies and the military. It makes sense for DHS to conduct internal investigations as well. I am. “

Earlier this month, Austin walking group Focusing on rank extremism. CBS News reported At least 42 active or former military personnel Arrested in connection with an attack on the Capitol on January 6.

Elizabeth Neumann, a former assistant to DHS’s anti-terrorism and threat prevention, told CBS News that as the third largest government agency, DHS is at risk of accommodating individuals with a radical perspective. Told. “It’s an organization of 240,000 people,” Neumann said of DHS. “Statistically speaking, some people may have perspectives that could be radical and likely to be adopted by radicals. Of course, it is illegal to retain these perspectives. No, “she added. “But if you swear and become a civil servant, you waive certain rights.”

Thomas Warwick, a former Assistant Secretary of Homeland for Anti-Terrorism Policy, said the sector faces “special challenges” in tackling white supremacy. “Unlike the Pentagon, where culture is built around the chain of command, DHS is largely cohesive and has historically many components of everyday autonomy.” Former Homeland Security. A senior Security official said that even a small number of “problem officers” could be “corrosive” to the entire agency.

An internal investigation follows the arrest of a former Coast Guard lieutenant. Christopher Hasson, Was accused of editing a hit list of Democratic politicians and media personalities in February 2019. Hasson, who described himself as a “long-time white nationalist” in an email obtained by a prosecutor, was assembled with seven rifles, two shotguns, four pistols, and two revolvers by agents. After discovering a gun silencer and a disassembled gun, he was put in jail for over 13 years. His house has gun silencers, magazines, and hundreds of ammunition.

The exposure of such profound extremism within the United States Coast Guard under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security September 2019 Strategic Bulletin Published by then-DHS Secretary Kevin McCullinan. “A network of crime and terrorists employs and enforces corrupt or vulnerable personnel employed by government and transportation stakeholders,” the ministry said in a report to prevent internal threats. Asked for “priority action”.

The report goes on to say, “These individuals have insider privileges and knowledge that can facilitate information gathering and counter-surveillance activities, theft, smuggling, tampering or sabotage of security systems and devices on behalf of hostile organizations. Have a terrorist attack. ”

But at the beginning of April 2019 DHS confirmed key change In that information gathering, he admitted that he had “reorganized” a team that once provided information about domestic terrorism and white supremacist groups to local police stations. Former DHS officials told CBS News at the time that the troops responsible for tracking terrorism in their country were “burned down” at the worst moments, just as domestic threats and white supremacist groups began to surge. It was.

“This isn’t brand new,” Neumann, who worked for the Department of Homeland Security from 2017 to April 2020, said Monday. “For two years we were discussing ways to make this better in the department.” However, former Homeland Security officials are the giants of the agency responsible for addressing immigration, cybersecurity and disaster response issues. He praised Homeland Secretary Mallorcus, who clearly communicated the investigation of domestic violent extremism as a “priority”.

McComb will work closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Office and the Civil Rights and Citizens’ Freedom Office, according to DHS officials. The Department of Homeland Security’s senior staff committee is expected to submit a report, including recommendations, to the Secretary, although the schedule remains unclear.

Especially lacking in reviews is the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s Office.Recently Preliminary examination According to the Government Accountability Office DHS Top Watchdog Found It suffers from chronic occupational misconduct and long-standing dysfunction within its rank.

The announcement will be made shortly before President Biden’s speech to a joint session of the United States Congress, which is considered the National Special Security Event (NSSE) by the United States Secret Service.Homeland Security Secretary John Cohen for Anti-Terrorism and Threat Prevention will also testify. Capitol Hill, Thursday About racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism.

Homeland Security is quiet during the weekend Expanded National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Breaking News Warn the public about the “increasing threat environment” in the United States. The first full-country terrorist bulletin issued following the presidential inauguration and the violent assault on the US Capitol was scheduled to expire at the end of April, but was postponed by the Secretary to May 15, 2021, and authorities are now. Gave another two weeks to reassess the situation. Threat environment.

Jeff Pegues and Eleanor Watson contributed to this report.

Homeland Security launches internal investigation of domestic violent extremism

Source link Homeland Security launches internal investigation of domestic violent extremism

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