Biden requested for an evaluation of the home terrorism menace
President-elect Joe Biden candidate for National Intelligence Directorate Avril Haines speaks at his interim headquarters at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware on November 24, 2020.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
President Joe Biden urged his intelligence chief to conduct a “comprehensive threat assessment” of domestic terrorism following the deadly Capitol riot, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.
The invasion of the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump “underscored what we have long known: the rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing threat to national security,” Psaki said at a press conference.
Biden asked the office of the director of the National Intelligence Service, led by his recently confirmed election of Avril Haines, to coordinate with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to gather factual analysis from across the government on domestic violent extremism, Psaki said.
A man urges people to raid the building while Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they attempt to storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.
Joseph Prezioso | AFP | Getty Images
The Biden government is “obliged to develop strategies and strategies based on this analysis,” taking into account “our respect for constitutionally respected freedom of speech and political activities,” she said.
“This is the first step in the process,” she noted.
The government is also working to improve the National Security Council’s ability to counter domestic extremism, Psaki said, adding that other parts of the government will coordinate to “step up and accelerate” efforts to counter these threats.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for additional information.
The January 6th break-in at the Capitol left five dead, including a U.S. Capitol police officer, and forced a joint congressional session to evacuate, thereby halting the confirmation of Biden’s electoral college victory over Trump.
At a rally in front of the White House shortly before the attack, Trump urged supporters to march to the Capitol to pressure GOP lawmakers to overthrow Biden’s victory.
The house indicted Trump for instigating the uprising. Now that he’s out of office, he’s still facing a Senate trial that Democrats hope will no longer run for the presidency.
The House will send the impeachment article to the Senate on Monday, initiating the trial for Trump’s second trial for high crimes and misdemeanors.
When asked Friday whether the government believes the rise in domestic terrorism requires a radical rethinking of law enforcement, Psaki said the priority of the assessment itself shows that “significantly more needs to be done”.
Psaki said the White House also tapped former counter-terrorism adviser Joshua Geltzer to “pioneer” Clare Linkins, Biden’s senior director of counterterrorism, in the first 100 days of administration.
Geltzer did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.