US Homeland Security Department unveils new domestic counter-terrorism branch

DHS

THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT of Homeland Security has unveiled plans to establish a dedicated counter-terrorism branch within its intelligence wing, as part of a broader push to focus on domestic violent threats. In a statement published on Tuesday, the DHS said the new domestic counter-terrorism branch will be bringing together “several full-time personnel” under its Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA).

According to the statement, the new branch will aim to “ensure DHS develops the expertise necessary to produce the sound, timely intelligence needed to combat threats posed by domestic terrorism and targeted violence”. In a related move, the DHS also announced plans this week to implement a new strategy of “gathering and analyzing intelligence about security threats from public social media posts”. The purpose of the new strategy will be to establish an early-warning mechanism that will take into account the kinds of social media posts that preceded the attack on the US Capitol Complex on January 6 of this year.

In addition to its new OIA branch, the DHS said it will dissolve its controversial Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention, which was set up during the administration of President Donald Trump. Critics have accused the Trump-era outfit of failing to focus on domestic far-right militancy for political reasons. It will now be rebranded as the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships, and will rely on outside expertise to identify and mitigate sources of domestic radicalism. According to DHS, the new center will “gauge the threat people may face based on behavioral assessments, rather than ideology”.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 12 May 2021 | Permalink

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