DOJ Adds New Unit Dedicated to Combatting Domestic Terrorism

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen
“Based on the assessment of the Intelligence Community, we face an elevated threat from domestic violent extremists — that is, individuals in the United States who seek to commit violent criminal acts in furtherance of domestic social or political goals,” explained Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen to the Senate Judiciary Committee last Tuesday.

The Department of Justice’s National Security Division is creating a new unit, dedicated to combatting domestic terrorism, as attacks, threats, and associated cases continue to grow.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has told lawmakers that the greatest threat of mass casualty attacks against civilians in the United States comes from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.

“The attacks in recent years underscore the threat that domestic terrorism continues to pose to our citizens, to law enforcement officers, to public officials, and to our democratic institutions,” according to Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen in remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee last Tuesday.

“Based on the assessment of the intelligence community, we face an elevated threat from domestic violent extremists, that is individuals in the United States who seek to commit violent criminal acts in furtherance of domestic, social, or political goals.”

(The Justice Department will launch a new domestic terrorism unit. The new division was announced during testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Courtesy of CBS News and YouTube. Posted on Jan 11, 2022.)

Olsen’s opening remarks included the following:

“The threat posed by domestic terrorism is on the rise. The number of FBI investigations of suspected domestic violent extremists has more than doubled since the spring of 2020.”

“Communities across the country have been the victims of acts of domestic terror and hate in recent years: In El Paso, 23 people, most of whom were Latino, were killed at a shopping center.”

“In Pittsburgh, 11 worshipers were killed at their synagogue. In Alexandria, Virginia, a lone gunman wounded four people at a congressional baseball practice. In Charleston, nine people were killed by a white supremacist at their church.”

“Last week, we marked the one-year anniversary of the violent attack on the Capitol on January 6. In the wake of that attack, DOJ has undertaken an effort – unprecedented in its scope and complexity – to hold accountable all who engaged in criminal acts.”

“As the Attorney General described last week, we have arrested and charged more than 725 individuals, including more than 325 defendants charged with felonies, for their roles in the January 6th attack. We continue to methodically gather and review the evidence and we will follow the facts wherever they lead.”

(Hear Attorney General Merrick B. Garland as he delivered remarks regarding the first anniversary of the attack on the capitol. Courtesy of the Justice Department and YouTube. Posted on Jan 5, 2022.)

“The attacks in recent years underscore the threat that domestic terrorism continues to pose to our citizens, to law enforcement officers and elected officials, and to our democratic institutions.”

“Based on the assessment of the Intelligence Community, we face an elevated threat from domestic violent extremists — that is, individuals in the United States who seek to commit violent criminal acts in furtherance of domestic social or political goals.”

“Domestic violent extremists are often motivated by a mix of ideologies and personal grievances. We have seen a growing threat from those who are motivated by racial animus, as well as those who ascribe to extremist anti-government and anti-authority ideologies.”

“We also remain vigilant to the persistent threat from international terrorist groups, particularly al-Qaida and ISIS.”

“As the Attorney General has observed, combatting the threat of domestic terrorism has been a core mission for the Department of Justice since its founding more than 150 years ago, when the newly-formed department pursued the KKK to protect the rights of Black Americans under the Constitution.”

“Today, investigating and prosecuting domestic violent extremists is among our highest priorities. On the front lines of this effort are our 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. These federal prosecutors work in close partnership with FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces, which have the lead in all terrorism investigations.”

“At Main Justice, the National Security Division was created in 2006 to integrate the department’s national security work nationwide. In any case with a nexus to domestic terrorism, we provide support to manage, coordinate and assist in those prosecutions.”

“Within the National Security Division, we have a team of counterterrorism attorneys, all of whom are equipped to work on both domestic and international terrorism prosecutions.”

“In addition, I have decided to establish a Domestic Terrorism Unit to augment our existing approach – this group of dedicated attorneys will focus on the domestic terrorism threat, helping to ensure that these cases are properly handled and effectively coordinated across DOJ and around the country.”

“The National Security Division also works closely with other components of the department, especially the Civil Rights Division, which has led the prosecution of some of the most heinous attacks in recent years under federal hate crime statutes.”

“Similar to our efforts to combat international terrorism, the department uses all of the legal tools in our arsenal to prevent, disrupt and prosecute acts of domestic terrorism. In cases where state charges are more appropriate, we support our state and local law enforcement partners.”

“While there is no single federal crime labeled “domestic terrorism,” the criminal code does define “domestic terrorism.” This definition provides us with expanded authorities, including enhanced sentencing for terrorism offenses.”

“Finally, in all our efforts to combat domestic terrorism, the Justice Department is bound by our commitment to protecting civil liberties and our duty to ensure equal and impartial justice.”

“We prosecute individuals for engaging in violence and other criminal conduct, not for their beliefs or associations. But we will not hesitate to prosecute those who commit acts of violence in violation of federal law.”

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Recognized in 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program

2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon (starting front row, left to right) SIMS Software President & CEO Michael Struttmann; TENEO Risk Advisory Executive Chairman Commissioner Bill Bratton; NEC National Security Systems President Dr. Kathleen Kiernan; TSA Administrator David Pekoske; Fortior Solutions General Counsel Katherine Cowan; NEC Corporation of America Senior Vice President & Chief Experience Officer Raffie Beroukhim; TENEO Risk Advisory Chief of Staff David Cagno; Infragard National Board Member Doug Farber, Lumina Analytics Co-Founder & Chairman Allan Martin, and AMAROK Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing Mike Dorrington.
2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon (starting front row, left to right) SIMS Software President & CEO Michael Struttmann; TENEO Risk Advisory Executive Chairman Commissioner Bill Bratton; NEC National Security Systems President Dr. Kathleen Kiernan; TSA Administrator David Pekoske; Fortior Solutions General Counsel Katherine Cowan; NEC Corporation of America Senior Vice President & Chief Experience Officer Raffie Beroukhim; TENEO Risk Advisory Chief of Staff David Cagno; Infragard National Board Member Doug Farber, Lumina Analytics Co-Founder & Chairman Allan Martin, and AMAROK Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing Mike Dorrington.

American Security Today’s Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards is the preeminent U.S. Homeland Security Awards Program, and now entering its Seventh Year, continues to recognize industry leaders of Physical and Border Security, Cybersecurity, Emergency Preparedness – Management and Response, Law Enforcement, First Responders, as well as federal, state and municipal government agencies in the acknowledgment of their outstanding efforts to Keep our Nation Secure.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

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(Actress Kirsten Vangsness, who plays tech-savvy FBI analyst Penelope Garcia on the show Criminal Minds, is promoteing the awareness of Internet crimes and scams and encourages the public to report suspected criminal cyber activity to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Courtesy of the FBI and YouTube.)

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The Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards highlight the most cutting-edge and forward-thinking security solutions coming onto the market today, to ensure our readers have the information they need to stay ahead of the competition and keep our Nation safe – one facility, street, and city at a time.

Thomas Richardson, FDNY Chief of Department; Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, President of NEC National Security Systems; and Richard Blatus, FDNY Assistant Chief of Operations at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon at ISC East.

AST Honors Thomas Richardson, FDNY Chief of Department; Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, President of NEC National Security Systems; and Richard Blatus, FDNY Assistant Chief of Operations, at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon at ISC East.

The United States was forever changed 20 years ago on September 11th, and we were fortunate to have many of those who responded to those horrific tragedies join us at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon.

In the days that followed 9/11, the critical needs of protecting our country catapulted us into new and innovative ways to secure our homeland – which is how many of the agencies and enterprise organizations that are today ‘ASTORS’ Awards Champions, came into being.

Our keynote speaker TSA Administrator David Pekoske delivered a moving and timely address on the strategic priorities of the 64,000 member TSA workforce in securing the transportation system, enabling safe, and in many cases, contactless travel, and more (Be sure to see Interview.)
TSA Administrator David Pekoske addressing attendees at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon in New York City on November 17, 2021. (Be sure to see AST Exclusive Interview, facilitated by Dr. Kathleen Kiernan HERE.)

Our keynote speaker featured a moving and informative address from TSA Administrator and Vice-Admiral of the United States Coast Guard (Ret), David Pekoske; to our attendees who traveled from across the United States and abroad, on the strategic priorities of the 64,000 member TSA workforce in securing the transportation system, enabling safe, and in many cases, contactless travel.

Commissioner Bill Bratton signing copies of his latest work, ‘The Profession: A Memoir of Community, Race, and the Arc of Policing in America,’ at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon. (Be sure to see AST Exclusive Interview with Comm Bratton, facilitated by Dr. Kathleen Kiernan HERE.)

Legendary Police Commissioner William Bratton of the New York Police Department, the Boston Police Department, and former Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department was also live at the event, meeting with attendees and signing copies of his latest work ‘The Profession: A Memoir of Community, Race, and the Arc of Policing in America,’ courtesy of the generosity of our 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Premier Sponsors.

The 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program was Proudly Sponsored by AMAROK, Fortior Solutions and SIMS Software, along with Returning Premier Sponsors ATI SystemsAttivo Networks, Automatic Systems, and Reed Exhibitions.

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AST Digital Publications are distributed to over 75,000 qualified government and homeland security professionals, in federal, state, local, and private security sectors.

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Today’s new generation of public safety and security experts need real-time knowledge to deal with domestic and international terrorism, lone wolf attacks, unprecedented urban violence, shifts in society, culture, and media bias – making it increasingly difficult for Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Military and Private Security Professionals to implement coordinated security measures to ensure national security and improve public safety.

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AST provides a full plate of topics in our AST Monthly Magazine Editions, AST Website, and AST Daily News Alerts, covering 23 Vital Sectors such as Access Control, Perimeter Protection, Video Surveillance/Analytics, Airport Security, Border Security, CBRNE Detection, Border Security, Ports, Cybersecurity, Networking Security, Encryption, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Campus Security, Security Services, Corporate Facilities, and Emergency Response among others.

AST has Expanded readership into integral Critical Infrastructure audiences such as Protection of Nuclear Facilities, Water Plants & Dams, Bridges & Tunnels, and other potential targets of terrorism.

Other areas of concern include Transportation Hubs, Public Assemblies, Government Facilities, Sporting & Concert Stadiums, our Nation’s Schools & Universities, and Commercial Business Destinations – all enticing targets due to the large number of persons and resources clustered together.

(See just a few highlights of American Security Today’s 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon at ISC East. Courtesy of My Pristine Images and Vimeo.)

To learn more about ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award Winners solutions, be on the lookout for the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS Edition Fully Interactive Magazine – the Best Products of 2021 ‘A Year in Review’.

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From Physical Security (Access Control, Critical Infrastructure, Perimeter Protection, and Video Surveillance Cameras and Video Management Systems), to IT Security (Cybersecurity, Encryption, Data Storage, Anti-Malware and Networking Security – Just to name a few), the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS EDITION will have what you need to Detect, Delay, Respond to, and Mitigate today’s real-time threats in our constantly evolving security landscape.

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