DHS: We Cannot Ignore ‘the Real and Serious Danger Posed by Domestic Terrorists’

By Melanie Arter | March 20, 2019 | 10:39am EDT
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (Screenshot)

(CNSNews.com) – DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday that while the main terrorist threat in the United States is from Islamist militants, her agency cannot ignore “the real and serious danger posed by domestic terrorists.”

“My department assesses that the primary terrorist threat in the United States continues to be from Islamist militants and those they inspire, but we should not and cannot and must not ignore the real and serious danger posed by domestic terrorists. They’re using the same do-it-yourself mass murder tactics as we saw with the horrible assault last week in New Zealand against Muslim worshippers,” Nielsen said in a speech hosted by Auburn University in Washington, D.C., on the 2019 priorities of DHS.


“Attacks on peaceful people in their places of worship are abhorrent. Our hearts go out to our friends and allies overseas, and I have offered them DHS’s full support. We too have seen the face of such evil with attacks in places such as Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, and Charleston, and in the wake of the New Zealand tragedy, I want to make one thing very clear: We will not permit such hate in the homeland,” she said.

 

 


“There is no room in this great nation for violent groups who intimidate or coerce Americans because of their race, religion, sex or creed,” the secretary said. “We will counter violent extremists with the full authorities of this department, and we will work with law enforcement partners to bring domestic terrorists to justice.”

Nielsen announced the launch of “new terrorism prevention programs against all forms of violent hate.” She said they’re sharing more information with local authorities and are working with social media companies “to crack down on terrorist propaganda online.” They’ve also soft target security nationwide “with a particular focus on protecting schools, large events, major gatherings, and places of worship.”

The secretary also announced that in 2019, “DHS will host the first ever national summit on terrorism prevention.”

“This two-day event will bring together tech companies, NGOs, community leaders, law enforcement, social service providers, and more in an effort to better crowdsource our defenses against terror. DHS is also focused on amplifying efforts to combat emerging threats,” she said.

Nielsen also said the department has the authority to “disrupt dangerous drones.”

“Last year with the help of Congress, we stood up a new office of Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction – one of the biggest ever reorganizations in DHS. This office is set to better protect Americans against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear dangers. We also fought for and won legislative authority to detect and disrupt dangerous drones, so they aren’t used on our homeland to spy, to steal, to smuggle, and to cause destruction,” she said.

The secretary noted that DHS has implemented “some of the most sweeping security enhancements in a decade.”

“We have instituted tougher vetting and tighter screening in the travel system to prevent terrorists from infiltrating the United States in addition to instituting the biggest aviation security enhancements in years. This includes sophisticated measures to detect concealed explosives and insider threats,” she said.

“This year, our new national vetting center will become fully operational. It will fuse law enforcement data and intelligence from across the government to detect dangerous individuals seeking to reach our territory. In the same vein, I am pleased to announce today that DHS has worked with the State Department to notify all countries in the world of more stringent information-sharing requirements to crack down on terrorist travel,” Nielsen added.

 

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