The Justice Department has informed us that it perceives less of a threat from ISIS and Al Queda than from domestic terror groups, according to a DOJ official speaking on Wednesday.
John Carlin, Assistant Attorney General announced the creation of a new division at DOJ that will focus on investigating and prosecuting such anti-government, domestic “terror” groups. The new division will be called “The Domestic Terrorism Counsel”. This news comes after a recent series of attacks, which Carlin describes as inspired by “anti-government views, racism, bigotry and anarchy, and other despicable beliefs.”
Carlin sites various statistics that he claims indicate that domestic terror has caused more deaths amongst Americans than have been caused by international terrorist organizations. He referenced the Charleston church shooting and the Las Vegas police officers that were killed by domestic extremists in 2014.
Carlin’s comments can help us better understand where our tax dollars will be going. “Looking back over the past few years, it is clear that domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists remain a real and present danger to the United States. We recognize that, over the past few years, more people have died in this country in attacks by domestic extremists than in attacks associated with international terrorist groups,” says Carlin.
The prosecution of these different groups is handled in different ways. While recruitment and social media techniques may be similar between the two types of organizations, groups that are based on religious extremism are considered to be “terrorist” organizations, and as such, it is illegal to provide them with any type of support. However, white supremacist groups and other anti-government extremist groups, the Ku Klux Klan for example, do not fall under that category and therefore, the prosecution of such groups requires more specific charges.
Carlin adds, “What causes some confusion is that ‘domestic terrorism’ is not an offense or a charge.” To prosecute members of such groups, charges end up ranging from firearms or explosives possession or use, murder or hate crimes.
Carlin goes further to say that he hopes DOJ will be able “to identify trends to help shape our strategy, and to analyze legal gaps or enhancements required to ensure we can combat these threats,” in addition to prosecuting domestic terrorism.
It is clear that the Justice Department now considers white supremacists to be more of a threat than groups such as Isis and Al Queda and even views the focus paid to Islamic or International Terrorism to be a misuse of resources.
Carlin further clarifies his personal concerns in saying, “I do worry sometimes that the coverage hypes the threat in such a way that it induces the fear that the terrorist is attempting to accomplish, yet, while we continue to address this evolving international threat of violent extremists, we have not lost sight of the domestic terrorism threat posed by other violent extremists.”