The Biden administration is attempting to roll out options for Americans to report their friendly and family members to the government if they suspect they have been radicalized, justifying the effort as a way to combat domestic terrorism.
In a conversation with reporters, one senior administration official explained the importance of stopping politically fueled violence before it started.
“We will work to improve public awareness of federal resources to address concerning or threatening behavior before violence occurs,” the official said.
The official cited the Department of Homeland Security’s “If you see something say something” campaign to help stop radical Islamic terror as a domestic possibility.
“This involves creating contexts in which those who are family members or friends or co-workers know that there are pathways and avenues to raise concerns and seek help for those who they have perceived to be radicalizing and potentially radicalizing towards violence,” the official said.
Since taking office, President Joe Biden has consistently warned about the rise of “political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism.” Earlier this month, the president described “white supremacy” as the “most lethal threat to the homeland today.”
In addition to the campaign to encourage Americans to report their loved ones, the administration is also hoping to leverage technology companies to increase their “information sharing”:
“Any particular tech company often knows its own platform very well,” the official noted. “But the government sees things — actually, threats of violence — across platforms. They see the relationship between online recruitment, radicalization, and violence in the physical world.”
Democrats have frequently pointed to the Jan 6. Capitol riot as justification for the increased focus on domestic terrorists, arguing that the threat from at home poses more dangers than terrorist threats abroad.
FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday suggested revisiting the limits the FBI has placed his agency’s ability to monitor social media for possible threats, arguing there was a “lesson learned” in the aftermath of the Capitol riot.
“We have very specific policies that have been at the department for a long time that govern our ability to use social media. And when we have an authorized purpose and proper predication there’s a lot of things we can do on social media, and we do do and we aggressively do. But what we can’t do on social media is without proper predication and an authorized purpose just monitor — just in case — on social media,” Wray said during his House Oversight and Reform Committee testimony.
“Now if the policies should be changed to reflect that — that might be one of the important lessons learned coming out of this whole experience. But that’s not something that currently the FBI has either the authority or certainly the resources frankly to do.”
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