teargas us capitol january 6
January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol (Photo by Tyler Merbler/Wikipedia)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) enraged his own party when he described, what some call, a failed coup at the Capitol as an example of domestic terrorism. After being attacked by Fox personality Tucker Carlson, Cruz had to come up with a reason he didn't mean what he said.

But what Cruz called it has sparked further discussion about the attack and the laws that deal with domestic terrorism in the United States. Most Republicans who agree the attack was terrorism have stayed quiet, likely fearful of former President Donald Trump, the tea party caucus or their own party voters who have turned increasingly right over the past decades.

MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin read the FBI's definition of "domestic terrorism" to further prove the point that what unfolded on Jan. 6 fit the definition.

"Violent criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, radical or environmental nature," the FBI says.

National Security Council's former senior director of counterterrorism Javed Ali explained that there is a clause in the U.S. Patriot Act that that "lays out a three-part definition of what constitutes an act of domestic terrorism. So, the activity on Jan. 6 or a lot of that activity fits within that definition. And a whole host of senior officials have labeled it an act of domestic terrorism. So, it definitely fits the definition."

His comments match that of former FBI counterterrorism deputy Frank Figliuzzi, who also explained on Sunday that the FBI could have done a whole host of things that would have helped on Jan. 6. One of the things would be to open a "threat assessment." He noted that Jan. 6 wasn't even declared a "National Security Special Event," which is done for everything from the Super Bowl to other major events or gatherings that could be a soft target for terrorism.

"Yet, the peaceful transfer of power was not treated even with a threat assessment, which would have allowed the FBI to gather open-source data from where? Social media. Collect source information. You could do that. Now, let's think ahead. Look at the next possible event. Open that threat assessment. Work with social media platforms, give them keywords and phrases tied to that coming event. It can all be done lawfully if they'll just get out in front of it."

He went on to say that local law enforcement desperately needs the FBI to take the baton on this and help them uncover events before they happen.

"We have to start getting ready for the potential for violence, perhaps around the midterms at statehouses, state capitols, perhaps around the issue of certifying extremely close U.S. Senate races in some key states, and I cite what those states might be. and start equipping local, county, and state law enforcement to start identifying the threats," he said.

Mohyeldin noted that charges aren't being leveled at the terrorism level, instead, the attackers are being charged with things like "entering congressional property" or "trying to disrupt congressional proceedings."

"This is one of the really difficult aspects of the domestic terrorism issue in the United States versus international terrorism," said Ali. "It's a complex legal framework to get through. There is a definition of domestic terrorism, we just talked about that. But there is no crime of domestic terrorism. Likewise, there is no list of domestic terrorist organizations like there is on the foreign side. That's why prosecutors can't bring material support charges against individuals aligned with different domestic extremist ideologies, because there's no list of these groups here in the U.S."

He explained that prosecutors would then have to use different federal laws to bring charges.

"If you look at the pool of people who have been charged and arrested, of the 725 charged, the number only seems to get bigger every week. None of the charges have the words terrorism in it," Ali continued. "There are other serious federal crimes. So, that is something prosecutors, I'm sure, have had to look at. What evidence do they have? What charges can they bring forward? Which charges will stick in court and what is the potential as they gather additional information or evidence? Could they then bring something forward under — there's a different clause known as terrorism enhancements. There's 57 different crimes under that terrorism enhancement statute. But so far, maybe outside of the crimes of destroying property at the Capitol, there doesn't seem an inclination right now to bring any of these terrorism enhancement charges."

See the interviews below:

Part 1:

- YouTube www.youtube.com

Part 2 with Frank Figliuzzi

How the FBI could have prepared better for Jan. 6 and what they should be doing right now www.youtube.com