Analyzing U.S. Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Brennan Center for Justice have recently released Confronting White Supremacist Violence: An Effective and Inclusive Path Forward, a report discussing current domestic terrorism prevention policies. Aside from questioning the effectiveness of the current U.S. domestic terrorism prevention strategy, this report raises concerns over the ethics of certain policies. Those of concern include the continued utilization of “discredited countering violent extremism programs” and “flawed surveillance and information sharing practices.” In addition to these issues, key terms such as “violent extremism” are not clearly defined in the same manner across all agencies, regardless of the fact that these terms can be used as justification for surveillance and the implementation of other terrorism prevention methods.

While parts of the current strategy remains problematic, there have been some improvements made via the National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. According to the report, this strategy strengthens the “tracking of domestic terrorism cases” and emphasizes the need to prioritize investigations of violent white supremists. These strides towards a more comprehensive domestic terrorism prevention plan have, unfortunately, not resolved bias targeting in investigative practices nor have they eliminated the implementation of unnecessary and ineffective techniques.

For more information on topics related to this piece, please visit the HSDL In Focus on Active Shooters, Border Security, Domestic Terrorism in the US, January 6th Capitol Attack, and Threats to Election Workers.

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