The Biden administration is urging Americans to alert the government to “radicalized” family members and friends, ostensibly in an effort to root out “domestic terrorists” in what critics are likening to fascistic, authoritarian regimes.
In a press call Tuesday, a senior administration official discussed President Joe Biden’s focus “on addressing the elevated threat of domestic terrorism” since taking office in January. The presser coincided with statements made earlier in the day by Attorney General Merrick Garland, in which he called for a “whole of society approach” to the issue following the Jan. 6 Capitol Building protest.
“We need not only a whole of government approach but a whole of society approach,” Garland said. “We must not only bring our federal resources to bear. We must adopt a broader societal response to tackle the problem’s deeper roots.”
But it was comments made by the senior official that drew the most attention — and the most criticism.
“President Biden tasked the intelligence and law enforcement communities during his first week in office to produce a comprehensive assessment of today’s domestic violent extremist threat. The goal underpinning that assessment was to establish a factual basis about the risk that domestic terrorists pose upon which we could then formulate a strategy and an implementation plan for countering domestic terrorism,” the official said.
“An unclassified summary of that baseline study was released in March, and it found that domestic violent extremists, motivated by a range of ideologies, pose an elevated threat to our country in 2021, with racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists — and specifically those who espouse the superiority of the white race — and anti-government militia violent extremists posing the most lethal threat,” the official continued, without providing any examples.
The official then moved into specifics of the government’s initiatives.
“We will work to improve public awareness of federal resources to address concerning or threatening behavior before violence occurs,” said the official, who was not identified in reports.
The official discussed revitalizing the Obama-era Department of Homeland Security initiative, “If you see something, say something,” along with other measures the agency, in conjunction with the FBI and the Justice Department, would be taking to combat a supposed domestic extremist problem that remains undefined by the Biden administration.
“This involves creating contexts in which those who are family members or friends or co-workers know that there are pathways and avenues to raise concerns and seek help for those who they have perceived to be radicalizing and potentially radicalizing towards violence,” the official said, again without elaborating.
Earlier this month, Biden proclaimed the threat from “white supremacy” as the “most lethal threat to the homeland today.” The administration has since said it plans to work with the big tech giants on “increased information sharing” to root out extremism.
“Any particular tech company often knows its own platform very well,” the official told reporters. “But the government sees things — actually, threats of violence — across platforms. They see the relationship between online recruitment, radicalization, and violence in the physical world.”
Several social media users blasted the administration for suggesting family members and friends turn each other in for what they perceive to be “radicalized” ideas that could simply be holding political views opposed to the White House.
“Wasn’t there a time back in the 40’s where some man in Germany had the general public watch their family, friends and neighbors. Asking them to report them because of their religious and birth right and also report any who assisted those he claimed not worthy,” one wrote, a reference to Adolph Hitler’s Nazi party.
“What are we Cuba now??” said another.
“This is nothing more than a fear & control tactic. they want you 2 turn against your family so they can forcibly swarm in & confiscate rightfully owned guns under the cloak of making america ‘safe’. and what is their definition of ‘radicalized americans’? anyone who opposes them?” another user speculated.
“Great. Happy to help. Start here… Anyone with the initials DNC located anywhere in their party affiliation. Begin high and work your way down. Looks like the higher one goes, the more radical they become,” said another.