President Joe Biden's State Department has the tools at hand that could help the FBI crackdown on domestic terrorists, according to a former FBI supervisory agent, reports Politico.
With growing concern over militia or paramilitary groups who showed what they are capable of during the January 6 insurrection, Politico notes that there is pressure to nip domestic terrorism in the bud to avoid a repeat.
As Politico contributor Suzanne Smalley writes, there is "proof of the growing internationalization of white supremacy, and how even proudly nationalistic groups in different countries reinforce each other’s grievances. The sense that white people are under siege in multiple countries fuels the global movement with fresh conspiracies while creating a sense of white brotherhood."
According to her report, the growing threat of these white supremacists organizations with international ties has some law enforcement experts complaining that President Joe Biden's administration is denying them a valuable tool that could be used to fight back.
"Under U.S. law, foreign white supremacist groups can be designated as foreign terrorist organizations, and providing “material support” to such groups is a federal crime. To be designated an FTO, a group must be foreign; it must threaten the security of the US or US nationals; and it must participate in terrorist activity or have the capability and intent to commit terrorism, according to the State Department," Smalley wrote before noting the Nordic Resistance Movement -- with branches in in Sweden, Finland, and Norway -- as an example of one such group that could be used as a test case.
"Designating groups such as the Nordic Resistance Movement as foreign terrorist organizations would, paradoxically, give the FBI new tools to combat violent threats from domestic extremists," Politico is reporting.
Pointing out that the U.S. has no hard and firm laws regarding domestic terrorism -- which is a bone of contention among differing factions within the government -- Smalley writes that former FBI Supervisory Agent Ali Soufan explained that if a "a global hate group were designated an FTO... authorities could share intelligence on American citizens connected to the designated group with U.S. allies and prosecutors could charge Americans who provide material support to it."
"To date, no white supremacist groups have been designated FTOs by the US government — because of a hesitance among U.S. officials, and fears that they don’t yet fit the model of global terrorist networks established by Al Qaeda and other Islamist groups," the report states. "The Biden administration recently released an anti-domestic terrorism strategy that won praise from counterterrorism experts, but many noted in frustration that it does not provide any recommendations for new legal authority to crack down on domestic terrorists. In the wake of the January 6 insurrection in the US Capitol, many say, more legal tools are urgently needed for a law enforcement apparatus that is just now catching up to the threat posed by white supremacists and far-right extremists."
According to Jason Blazakis, formerly of the State Department, failure to address tools needed to stem the growing tide of domestic insurrectionists could leave government officials with "blood on their hands."
“Leaving this unaddressed, whether it means not using the [FTO] sanctions, authorities not pursuing other avenues to try to target extremists in this milieu, not seriously giving consideration to the passage of domestic terrorism law that is bounded by protection of civil liberties — that is absolutely, I think, an example of where we would have blood on our hands because we have those opportunities to do things that we may have missed,” Blazakis explained. “And because we didn't do certain things, something bad may have happened, because we didn't use the legal authorities that were available to us, or try to create new authorities that will go after a problem in a nuanced way.”
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