Groundbreaking Domestic Terrorism Legislation Passes House
(WASHINGTON) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Domestic and International Terrorism DATA Act (H.R. 3106), bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, to foster greater transparency into the federal government’s handling of domestic terrorism and to increase research on the issue. This is the first bill the House of Representatives has passed that gives needed attention to domestic terrorism.
The Domestic and International Terrorism DATA Act will:
- Require FBI, DOJ, and DHS to produce an unclassified yearly report with: data on domestic terrorist incidents; assessments, investigations, indictments, prosecutions, and convictions with a domestic terrorism nexus; and the number of DOJ and DHS full-time staff working on domestic terrorism.
- Require GAO to audit the annual report.
- Require DHS to study transnational links between groups linked to domestic terrorism in the U.S., such as white supremacists, and their counterparts abroad.
Chairman Thompson released the following statement on passage of the bill:
“Fueled largely by a surge in white supremacist extremism, domestic terrorism is a growing and persistent threat to the security of the nation. Yet very few Americans know what the Federal government is doing about it. Even Congress is too often left in the dark.”
“H.R. 3106 is a commonsense bill that will improve transparency into this growing homeland security threat. There is a clear and urgent need for quality data to inform counterterrorism policymaking. The federal government has a responsibility to be straight with the American people about the threats we face and what resources it is allocating to confront them. Enacting this bill will help Americans, over time, understand the nature of the terrorism threat and how it is evolving. I urge my Senate colleagues to follow our bipartisan lead and pass this timely legislation.”
Facts on the domestic terrorism threat:
- In 2018, there were 50 extremist killings in the U.S. and all had links to right-wing extremism, mostly white supremacist extremism.
- Between 2009 and 2018, there were 427 deaths linked to extremism in the U.S. — and nearly three-fourths of these were linked to domestic right-wing extremists. Less than one-fourth linked to Islamist extremists.
- In 2017 and 2018, there were more arrests tied to domestic terrorism than to international terrorism.
- In May, the FBI revealed that it had around 850 active domestic terrorism investigations across the country.
- As of July, according to the FBI, the number of domestic terrorism arrests in 2019 is on par with the number of international terrorism arrests.
Bill endorsed by: ADL (Anti-Defamation League), Arab American Institute, Jewish Federations of North America, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Muslim Advocates, NAACP, National Action Network, Southern Poverty Law Center.
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