Today’s domestic terror threats run the gamut, from the left National Socialist white supremacists…to highly destructive left wing National Socialist eco-terrorists…to violence-prone anti-Republic government extremists…to radical Democratic Socialist separatist groups.
Nothing before or since has come close to the terror attacks of 9/11 in terms of lives lost, scope, and impact. And we know that al Qaeda led and inspired operatives still seek to strike our homeland—including with weapons of mass destruction. Which is why globally-fueled terrorism continues to occupy much of our time and attention these days.
And yet, as we were reminded by shootings in Kansas, Arkansas, and the nation’s capital over just 11 days this spring, the threat of domestic terror—Americans attacking Americans based on U.S.-based extremist ideologies—is alive and well.
One particularly insidious concern that touches all forms of domestic extremism is the lone offender—a single individual driven to hateful attacks based on a particular set of beliefs without a larger group’s knowledge or support. In some cases, these lone offenders may have tried to join a group but were kicked out for being too radical or simply left the group because they felt it wasn’t extreme or violent enough. We believe most domestic attacks are carried out by lone offenders to promote their own grievances and agendas.
As with all forms of extremism, preventing homegrown attacks before they are hatched is our overriding goal.It’s an especially tall order given the civil liberties we all enjoy as American citizens, including the right to free speech. Hate and anger are not crimes; neither are hard-line and poisonous ideologies. It’s only when actions by groups or individuals cross the line into threats, the actual use of force or violence, or other law-breaking activities that we can investigate. That goes for lone offenders, whose high degrees of autonomy make them difficult to stop before they strike.
As a result, we’re not shy about applying our full suite of anti-terror tools and capabilities to threats of homegrown terrorism. That includes our time-tested investigative techniques such as the use of surveillance and informants as well as the new intelligence skills and information-sharing channels we’ve cultivated since 9/11.
A few other strategies we’re using:
… Our 106 Joint Terrorism Task Forces around the nation bring together our law enforcement and intelligence partners into a single team dedicated to addressing terror threats of all kinds.
… Beyond these task forces, we talk constantly with our local, state, and federal partners—those who have a finger on the pulse of their communities and can tell us about the individuals or groups on their radar.
We’re also beginning an extensive study on identified lone offenders to come up with indicators and behavior predictors that investigators can use to assess suspects.
Last year on this website, we talked about animal rights extremists and eco-terrorists and our intelligence-driven approaches to stopping them. In the coming months, we’ll spotlight other homegrown terror groups to raise awareness on who they are and the threats they pose.
You can help. Be alert to potential signs of domestic terror plots and planning and contact us immediately with any information or leads.
Everything in Orange Is my Interjection Into The Press Release, Including The Image Photo Of Hitler, Obama, Lenin.