Saturday, February 13, 2021

A Domestic Terrorism Law Is Debated Anew After Capitol Riot

It's probably not being debated "anew." 

Democrats are out for the blood of Trump's 74 million supporters, who Democrats are libeling as "right-wing domestic terrorists." And those MAGA folks aren't stupid, despite what the idiot leftists in Congress think. The Biden regime is not getting off to a good start, and the 2022 midterms will be here before they know it, and poof!, bye bye Democrat majority in both chambers. Then who's going to be labeled "domestic terrorists"? The Republicans, as sad a lot as they are, certainly know how to play tit-for-tat. 

So buckle your seat belts as our partisan divisions get worse over these next few years, and China Joe's pledges for "national unity" go up in smoke like a BLM Molotov cocktail.

At WSJ, "Addressing violent extremism is a Biden priority, but whether the U.S. needs a specific new law is up for debate":

As a candidate, President Biden promised to make tackling domestic violent extremism—a long-simmering issue in the U.S.—a priority.

The threat has taken on fresh urgency after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which involved several far-right groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.

The matter is fraught: Addressing terrorism involving U.S. citizens is complicated by constitutional, political and cultural concerns, homeland-security officials and other experts say.

One long-debated issue is whether the U.S. needs a generic federal domestic terrorism offense with which to charge violent extremists. Mr. Biden’s campaign website said he would make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism “that respects free speech and civil liberties,” though it is unclear if that would entail creating a broad statute. The Biden administration has yet to make any recommendations and is considering civil-rights concerns, a senior administration official said earlier in February.

What is the argument for a domestic terrorism law?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation can robustly monitor international terrorists with the goal of disrupting plots before they occur. But there are legal constraints on what the bureau can do at home.

Its ability to open an investigation solely based on hateful speech or affiliation with known domestic extremists is severely curtailed by the First Amendment and other constitutional provisions, which protect Americans’ rights to speak, organize in groups and even stockpile firearms. The law-enforcement response to domestic terrorism has been largely reactive—investigating and helping prosecute attacks after they occur.

“Domestic terrorism within law enforcement has historically not been given the importance” of its foreign counterpart, said Tom O’Connor, a former FBI special agent who worked on domestic terrorism cases for 23 years.

By law, U.S. officials have limited ability to monitor communications between people on American soil who may be intent on violence, lacking the sweeping surveillance powers against U.S. citizens that they can use overseas.

The U.S. also has no federal terrorism laws “that apply to the most common method of committing a terrorist attack—a mass shooting—where there is no tie to a foreign terrorist organization,” Mary McCord, a former federal prosecutor, has said.

In recent years, most ideologically motivated killings in the U.S. have been tied to far-right extremists such as white supremacists, according to researchers, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

Some federal prosecutors, FBI officials and experts tracking American extremism have called for a new law for years, particularly after a string of deadly attacks committed by white supremacists. For example, the man responsible for killing 11 people in 2018’s Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh was hit with 44 charges, including federal hate crimes, but faced no terrorism offenses.

“Enacting a federal crime of domestic terrorism would place it on the same moral plane as international terrorism,” Ms. McCord and Jason Blazakis, a professor at Middlebury Institute of International Studies, argued in a 2019 article in Lawfare.

Mr. Blazakis said in a Feb. 11 interview that a statute could result in additional jail time for violent offenders, though such a law would require government oversight to ensure that U.S. authorities don’t infringe on civil rights.

The FBI Agents Association has said it supports creating a law...

Still more.