In their nature, congressionally mandated annual reports can be boring, check-the-box tasks. At the time that the reports are published the lawmakers in Congress (or most likely their staff) who asked for the report have generally gone on to the latest hot policy topics.
The executive branch has to produce annual reports that nobody ever has time to read. But every once in every so often, there’s something that is so significant that the requirement to report provides a useful document that can have an impact on public policy. The intelligence assessment that was recently released on domestic terrorists is a good example of such an assessment.
It is the second version of Strategic Intelligence Assessment and Data on Domestic Terrorism. The previous version was interesting but did not meet the mark in several ways and was as if it was as if it was an attempt to please anxious congressional officials. This iteration of the report, which was issued with minimal fanfare or the usual departmental press release, is a major improvement. From greater granularity in the scale and magnitude of the threat posed by domestic terrorism, to an open acknowledgement of the complexity of the threat It should also provide an outline to guide U.S. domestic counterterrorism efforts.
More Statistics, More Issues
The report of 44 pages, written in collaboration with the FBI as well as Department of Homeland Security, is required by 2020 law. Department of Homeland Security, is required under the law of 2020:
to the greatest extent possible and in the interest of internal recording and tracking, uniform and standard definitions for the words “domestic terrorist act,” “act of domestic terrorism,”” “domestic terrorist groups,” and any other frequently used terms relating to DT and tracking methodologies to track the incidents of DT as well as descriptions of subcategories and categories of DT and ideologies related to DTrelated to DT.
In terms of law enforcement investigations the number of terrorist attacks in the United States is rising. The FBI reported nearly 1400 investigations into domestic terrorism towards the end in fiscal year 2020. This is significantly higher than the 1,000 average of the previous years. At the year’s end, however, the number of cases nearly increased to 2,700. The agency said “a significant proportion” of the investigations to incidents related to the month of Jan. 6 but, regardless of the reason for this irregularity, the numbers have significantly increased.
The majority of investigations involved the racial or ethnically motivated violence extremes, anti-government and anti-authority violent extremism and civil disturbances. If the labels you are given seem like catchy terms, it’s due to the fact that they’re. That’s the nature of investigations into domestic terrorism in America.
Domestic terrorists, as defined in 18 U.S.C. SS 2331(5) (as defined by 18 U.S.C. SS 2331(5)), can be described as anything other than al-Qaeda or an organization like the Islamic State. The result is that ideas that are classified as domestic terrorism could vary from the common white supremacist, to a hardened anarchist, and all in between. The vast array of ideas are normal but eventually they lose their value to the congressional appropriators who are trying to figure out which way to allocate funds.
As was the case in the previous year’s report as in last year’s assessment, in the last year’s report, the FBI did not differentiate between the different types of investigations that can be anything from preliminary inquiries, to more extensive investigations. To a non-expert, this absence of clarity may appear acceptable however, there are many differences in the definitions. A review is the simplest type of investigation.
It’s not typically labor heavy and uses fewer tools for investigation available. However the full-field investigation could include a multitude of analysts and agents to complete it. In essence 2700 full-field investigations could be overwhelming in the context of FBI employees. However the open assessment of 2,700, although unprecedented, could be feasible.
Although the information provided is valuable, the lack of data from other areas is only raising additional questions. While the FBI employs approximately 4,400 employees, it’s not known how many of them of them are devoted to domestic terrorist concerns, or how resource-intensive domestic issues are.
For the second year in succession the FBI did not provide an exact number on the amount of staff that are focused on countering violent extremism in the domestic context however, the agency did extend the word count of its non-answer question from the previous year to include a 525-word explanation of the difficulty of completing an accurate count since fighting domestic extremism takes several personnel.
In terms of the intelligence aspect report, it is noted even with the increase in threat that is posed by the terrorist threat, there is no evidence that the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) doesn’t employ one analyst who is solely focused on domestic terrorists.
It is possible to claim there is a possibility that NCTC is in a few aspects because of its mission or at a minimum the narrow reading in its law, limit its ability to concentrate on terrorists that are not associated with the international diversity of groups such as those of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. In the same way the report says that Homeland Security employs only ten analysts who deal with domestic extremism threats. But, this is an explosive increase from five years ago and there was no any dedicated national terrorism analysis team.
January. 6 arrests triggered the nearly fourfold rise in the number of arrests for domestic terrorism between the fiscal years 2020 and 2021. The FBI together with its partner agencies were able to arrest around 800 foreign terrorism people in 2021 only which is up from about 180 in the previous year. In contrast, the FBI had arrested 850 suspected terrorists in the United States. individuals between the fiscal years 2015 and 2019.
In the course of its investigation, the FBI has received over 14,000 reports of possible domestic violence incidents during the two-year period covered by the report: approximately five hundred in the fiscal year of 2020 and 8,400 in the fiscal 2021. The FBI referred around 2,700 cases with partner agencies.
The same time frame, in the past two years the agency issued around 6000 domestic intelligence products for terrorism which range from raw data to final reports. This number is also up from 4,000 items over the five years that was covered in the report last year. This represents a significant increase in the intelligence analysis conducted from agencies like the FBI, Homeland Security, and the NCTC.
This is due to the growing attention to the subject of domestic terrorism, as well as the desire by local and state officials for more details. In fact, according to any test, the counterterrorism apparatus has undergone an “sea shift” since Jan. 6.
There’s a drawback with this flood of information: When everyone is shouting and shouting, the most important details are often lost in the chaos. The phenomenon of signal-versus-noise was brought into stark relief during the lead-up to the 6th of January. 6when the period it was reported that the office’s reports is not believed to have been a source that is a source of concern for headquarters.
There could be more clarity on the figures in the upcoming reports, given that it is the Justice Department now requires U.S. attorney’s offices to mark and flag domestic cases of violent extremism they’re pursuing, even if the charges are not specifically tied to terrorism.
The Easter Eggs
Reports on intelligence and law enforcement tend to hide important information within the seemingly unimportant lines of a larger report. It’s a sign that the reports are usually written by political analysts who are in complete apathy to political trends and do not realize the potential implications of the reporting of ground truths.
However, most times, specific Easter eggs will be revealed within the report since analysts are looking to make hints at concerns they are concerned about without offending the policy makers who have final say in bringing the documents to light.
In the first place, departments are prone to avoid official questions regarding whether they need to expand their legal authority. But, one instance of a possible legislative initiative that is mentioned within the document is the need to alter legislation to enhance the federal law enforcement capacity to deal with threats from minors.
In recent public statements in the media, the top FBI officers have voiced alarms over the growing instances of minors being involved in crimes and the dearth of legal resources available. In discussions with law enforcement and prosecutors across the nation by their authors, they are more likely to voice concerns that they’re in a bind between a rock and a difficult place.
There are children that are as young as 11 who have been influenced by white supremacy, but lack the moral motivation or legal authority to stop them. In a quiet way, they’ve created haphazard intervention and diversion plans to try to convince these young, and mostly masculine–individuals from their fervent views. The current state of law enforcement in this area is not sustainable over the long term.
Although extremism motivated by abortion-rights beliefs has not been a significant threat in the past, especially compared to anti-abortion-related extremism, the report notes that following the Dobbs decision, there is an increased threat to anti-abortion organizations and individuals.
In actual fact, there has been a growing number of vandalism-related incidents towards religiously-affiliated pregnancy clinics in the last few months. The month of August was when FBI Director Christopher Wray informed members of the Senate Judiciary Committee the agency had launched “a quantity” in investigations into the issue of abortion violence.
The report’s final page is a list of the things the agency has classified as “significant terrorist incidents in the U.S.” Within those six pages information is the 6th of January. 6 attack which is described in a modest manner, as criminal actors “disrupting the joint meeting of U.S. Congress in the process of confirming the results of the presidential election.”
The important incidents section lists a variety of instances of violent extremists driven by “personalized ideologies.” One of the most well-known events that reflected this ideology was when an extremist was responsible for an act of mass shooting in a spa close to Atlanta, Georgia, leaving eight dead and injuring numerous others.
Law enforcement personnel continue to confront challenges in tackling the threat from those who want to engage in violence to observe the world burning. The law enforcement community refers to this issue as”the ” Joker effect.”
These kinds of attacks are extremely difficult to combat because of the standard intelligence processes and strategies that could be employed to stop the other attacks of terrorists, such as analysts who specialize in ideologic nuances and catchy phrases, or speaking to suspected or known terrorists, aren’t applicable to these attacks.
One final thing to note and it could be our way to bury the lead in this piece, is that the report is a bit different in the section describing the way that international and domestic investigations are conducted. In the report for 2021 the FBI declared that the supervisory special agent can end a terrorist investigation subject to the consent of the agent who is in charge of the investigation.
The report this week added 12 crucial words to the section. Investigations can be closed, however “notice to the HQ unit responsible for closure must be sent prior to the closing.” This means that the responsibility for investigations that are going south may end in the Hoover Building. Hoover Building. It’s not clear if it’s a formal change or simply a reflection on an existing practice in place but wasn’t explicitly mentioned until 2021. If it’s a policy change that is significant, it’s significant.
Despite its flaws the report this year offered an insight into the increasing terrorist threat to the country of America and was a significant improvement over the previous one. That’s all it takes to say that occasionally the reports mandated by Congress are worth studying.