Challenges in Addressing Domestic Violent Extremism

Mitchell D. Silber’s recently published report for the Atlantic Council titled “Domestic Violent Extremism and the Intelligence Challenge,”  offers a deep dive into the intelligence challenges exposed by the January 6, 2021 Capitol Riot event. According  Silber, “intelligence collection did not fail. In fact, it was robust. Rather, the failure was in the analysis of the intelligence and the failure of senior government officials to warn and act based on that intelligence.”

The report provides background information regarding intelligence changes made in the wake of 9/11 and argues that the Capitol incident warrants changes to the “current domestic intelligence structure in a way to maximize intelligence success against the domestic violent-extremist threat to prevent future surprise attacks in the homeland.”

The suggested intelligence reforms in addressing domestic violent extremism include:

  1. The creation of a More Robust Online Social Media Analysis Unit (OSMAU) within DHS I&ADHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis
  2. Creation of the Domestic Violent Extremism Analysis Unit (DVEAU) within the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)
  3. DVEAU should report to NCTC Director and directly to Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to avoid politicization interference
  4. Creation of a New Position—Deputy DNI for Warning (Domestic), who should receive reporting from the FBI and the new DVEAU, and function as a national warning officer for domestic terrorism threats

For more information on topics related to this piece visit the HSDL for more resources on Domestic (U.S.) Terrorism, Domestic Intelligence, and the Capitol Riots.

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