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Biden seeks national threat assessment of domestic extremist groups

By
Jean Lotus
President Joe Biden has asked for a threat assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies of domestic extremists after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, killing five people. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
President Joe Biden has asked for a threat assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies of domestic extremists after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, killing five people. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 22 (UPI) -- The Biden administration announced Friday that federal law enforcement agencies will begin an analysis of violent domestic extremist groups after the siege of the U.S. Capitol.

"The January 6 assault on the Capitol and tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we have long known, that the rise of domestic national extremism is a serious and growing national security threat," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press conference Friday.

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President Joe Biden has asked newly confirmed Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to conduct "a comprehensive threat assessment, coordinated with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security on domestic violent extremism," Psaki said.

The administration is also asking the National Security Council to build capability to "investigate and counter domestic violent extremism, support efforts to prevent radicalization, disrupt violent extremist networks and more," Psaki said.

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Many of those identified and arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 attack have been linked to domestic extremist groups, including the Proud Boys and right wing militia groups Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, with links to neo-Nazi White supremacist groups, according to the FBI.

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On Fox News Thursday, host Tucker Carlson warned viewers that they could be "caught up" in Biden's "war on White supremacists."

On Friday, Psaki said that coordinating federal agencies would be working to craft "policies and strategies based on facts and objective research and analysis." She added that federal agencies would be working with "respect for constitutionally protected free speech and protected political activities."

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Department of Homeland Security counterintelligence expert Liz Sherwood-Randall has tapped Joshua Geltzer, former senior director for counterterrorism at the NSC from 2015 to 2017, to coordinate the agencies, Psaki said.

The day after the assault on the Capitol, Biden called the attackers a "riotous mob." Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died in the melee.

"Don't you dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob. Insurrectionists. Domestic terrorists," Biden said.

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