Home News Homeland Security to undergo internal review to root out ‘extremism’ in ranks

Homeland Security to undergo internal review to root out ‘extremism’ in ranks

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The Department of Homeland Security will undergo an internal review to address the threat of “domestic violent extremism” as part of the federal government’s effort to root out “threats” from within its ranks.

News of the review came Monday in an announcement from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who ordered that it begin immediately.

“Domestic violent extremism poses the most lethal and persistent terrorism-related threat to our country today,” Mayorkas said in a statement. “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.

“Hateful acts and violent extremism will not be tolerated within our Department.”

The review will be handled by an internal team at DHS, led by the department’s chief security officer. The group will produce a report regarding “how best to identify and respond to threats related to domestic violent extremism, including those based on racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism.”

National Guard and US Capitol Police stand guard at the US Capitol on January 28, 2021 in Washington, DC after The Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin on warning of a continued threat from domestic violent extremists.
National Guard and US Capitol Police stand guard at the US Capitol on January 28, 2021 in Washington, DC, after the Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin warning of a continued threat from domestic violent extremists.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Multiple members of President Biden’s cabinet have made addressing “extremism” inside the federal government a priority in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a 60-day “stand down” of the entire US military back in February in order for commanders to address the threat.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby described the military-wide pause at the time as similar to stand downs that units have to do to address safety concerns.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a 60-day “stand down” of the US military for commanders to address the threat of extremism.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a 60-day “stand down” of the US military for commanders to address the threat of extremism.
Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images

Austin issued the order following a meeting about the topic with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, as well as service civilian leaders and service chiefs.

The group also discussed the Capitol riot, Kirby said, noting the presence of veterans and active-duty service members at the scene. They left the meeting still uncertain of how to fully address the problem, leading to the pause.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby described the military-wide pause at as similar to stand downs units practice to address safety concerns.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby described the military-wide pause as similar to stand downs that units undergo to address safety concerns.
Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

During his first major speech as the nation’s top law enforcement officer earlier this month, Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged that the Justice Department was treating domestic terrorism as a top priority.

“The Department of Justice is pouring its resources into stopping domestic violent extremists before they can attack, prosecuting those who do and battling the spread of the kind of hate that leads to tragedies like the one we mark here today,” the attorney general said.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley speaking on Capitol Hill on July 9, 2020.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley speaking on Capitol Hill on July 9, 2020.
Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

He made a similar promise during his Senate confirmation hearing, vowing that a federal probe into the riot would be his main focus.

As DHS remains focused on the “extremism” threat, another core responsibility of the department continues to erupt into a crisis.

The Biden administration’s undoing of former President Donald Trump’s border policies has prompted a flood of Central American and Mexican illegal migrants at the US border, including thousands of unescorted children.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visits National Guard troops deployed at the U.S. Capitol and its on January 29, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visits National Guard troops deployed at the US Capitol on January 29, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Manuel Balce Ceneta-Pool/Getty Images

Central Americans looking for refuge from the Northern Triangle countries have taken these policy moves, as well as the overwhelmingly more welcoming tone from Democrats, as a sign that Biden is inviting them to cross the border.

Insisting that the border was not facing a crisis, Mayorkas said in early March that the problems the agency faced should be blamed on the previous administration.

The data, however, overwhelmingly shows that migrants were flooding the border because they believed Biden would welcome them with open arms.

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