Washington, Jun 15 (EFE).- Domestic terrorism, especially “racially or ethnically” motivated attacks, is a growing problem in the United States, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Tuesday in a speech to introduce the government’s first-ever national strategy to confront the threat.
The Biden administration initiative calls for $177 million in additional resources for the Justice Department, FBI and Department of Homeland Security.
Federal domestic terrorism investigations have “increased significantly” in the past year, Garland said.
“In the FBI’s view, the top domestic violent extremist threat comes from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocated for the superiority of the white race,” the attorney general said.
He added that the aim is to prevent violence, not to “prosecute people for their beliefs.”
“In America, espousing a hateful ideology is not unlawful. We do not investigate individuals for their First Amendment protected activities,” Garland said.
The attorney general cited the Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump who hoped to stop lawmakers from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the November election as evidence that white supremacists and militias represent the greatest domestic security threat.
The 480 arrests made by federal authorities in connection with the Capitol riot demonstrate “the seriousness with which we take this assault on a mainstay of our democratic system,” Garland said.
A key aspect of the plan is creation of a national framework to make it possible for state, local and federal agencies to share information on domestic terrorism threats.
“The national strategy recognizes that we cannot prevent every attack. The only way to find sustainable solutions is not only to disrupt and deter, but also to address the root causes of violence,” Garland said. EFE afs/dr