Decades after 9/11 the US is at risk again by dangerous terrorists: Former FBI counter-intel officer warns
An American stands prepared to protect his country from terrorism with his handguns (Shutterstock)

President Joe Biden made a speech at the Pentagon about Sept. 11 and spoke out against the kind of extremism that led terrorists to fly into American buildings, killing thousands. He told the crowd outside of the building that the most important thing that they can do is to continue to push back against the forces that are trying to undermine democracy.

While the anti-democratic forces may have been al Qaeda 21 years ago. Today, there is a fear that right-wing extremists, militia groups, white supremacist organizations and neo-Nazis are growing in power and conducting their own attacks. One group plotted to kidnap and assassinate a governor, ram their cars into protesters, open fire on protesters, and threaten local officials, election workers and federal judges.

"I think Biden's speech actually hit the mark in terms of anti-radicalization strategy," said former FBI deputy director of counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi. "That is to call out what you see as violent conduct, conduct against democracy, and offer somebody another option, which is membership in another group, a group called civil society. A group called a democratic republic. You've got to call it out when you see it. And then you've got to offer an alternative. That is an anti-radicalization strategy."

He went on to say that after Sept. 11, a lot changed and the country came together. That hasn't been the case since Jan. 6 and the Capitol was attacked by our own people.

"The question is, here we are on the anniversary of 9/11," he continued. "Sept. 11 was about an external threat. It was about a nation who was resilient, who came together, took a punch to the gut, recovered, and showed resolve so it would not happen again. We saw an incredible shift in our intelligence community. The FBI remade itself to fight that external threat. Laws were passed, including the Patriot Act, with many different rules and operation techniques. Agencies were created, the Department of Homeland Security, a massive organization, with new authorities and responsibilities. Jan. 6 happens, internal threat, not external threat. No new agencies. No new laws. We still don't have a domestic terrorism law on the books. We're trying to fight the battle, but with a greater challenge, which is the insider threat. The threat is us. It's a different, more challenging threat."

Vice President Kamala Harris noted in an NBC interview that there are 11 people who don't believe in American democracy running for an office to conduct a democratic process.

"There is an irony here. Isn't this ironic that it's our own system, our freedom of speech, our freedom of assembly that causes that reticence of our law enforcement, understandably, because of our constitutional rights and liberties, to actually take action before the bomb goes off? Before the insurrection, before the violence occurs. It makes it very, very difficult to do," explained Figliuzzi. "And that's the challenge here."

When it comes to Harris's comments, Figliuzzi cited a report from last week listing off members of the Oath Keepers militia that were law enforcement, elected officials and members of the military.

"Law enforcement officers, including police chiefs and sheriffs, who were quick to deny, if there's any glimmer of hope there, that they have any active role or that they actually aligned with the Oath Keepers anymore. But that is the inside threat," he closed. "Our own system that we have to figure out how to deal with in order to get through this. America has to decide what it wants to be when it grows up. We are still young. We are still experimental. This is not a fait accompli. This is not a given. We've got to fight for democracy, if that's what we want to be."

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