Homeland Security to study extremism threat within agency


WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced an internal review to address the threat of domestic violent extremism within the sprawling agency.

Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said senior DHS officials would explore ways to detect and prevent extremism in an agency that includes the U.S. Coast Guard and the country’s primary immigration enforcement agencies.

“Domestic violent extremism poses the most lethal and persistent terrorism-related threat to our country today,” Mayorkas said. “As we work to safeguard our Nation, we must be vigilant in our efforts to identify and combat domestic violent extremism within both the broader community and our own organization.”

DHS did not cite any specific incidents in announcing the review and did not immediately respond to questions about the review.

The agency has increased its focus on domestic extremism since President Joe Biden took office in January. Past incidents include a Coast Guard lieutenant who was accused of being a domestic terrorist and was convicted on weapons and drug charges last year.

Shortly after Biden took office, DHS issued a rare terrorism bulletin warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after the election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol might embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks.

The agency also directed state, local and tribal agencies receiving annual DHS grants to direct 7.5% of the funds toward addressing the threat from domestic extremism.

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