Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco Delivers Keynote Address at ADL-McCain Institute Domestic Violent Extremism Policy Summit | Takeover bid
Notes as prepared for delivery
Thank you for this presentation. I also want to thank the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the McCain Institute for inviting me to speak today and for the inspiring work you do to confront extremism, protect civil rights and defend our democracy.
From my time with the FBI in the National Security Division to my tenure as Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor in the White House until today, I have witnessed the expansion of the threat posed by terrorism. We must continue to focus on international terrorism while addressing the growing risk of domestic terrorism and the appalling increase in hate crimes.
That’s why a year ago this week, Attorney General Garland announced that the Biden administration National strategy against domestic terrorism. The goal of this one-of-a-kind strategy is to coordinate whole-of-government efforts to address the heightened threat of domestic terrorism. The National Strategy reflects the evolution and intensification of the domestic terrorist threat we face today.
The Department of Justice was a natural candidate to help lead this effort. Countering extremist attacks and hate crimes and protecting civil rights have been central to our mission since the department was established more than 150 years ago.
Today, this work is more urgent than ever.
At the Department of Justice, we didn’t need to be reminded of the threats posed by domestic violent extremism and the rise in hate crimes. But the anti-Semitic terrorist attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas earlier this year and the racially motivated violent extremist attack in Buffalo last month – and so many other tragic incidents over the past year – highlighted these threats. for communities across America.
The intelligence community has determined that the deadliest domestic terrorism threat is posed by racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists and militia violent extremists.
We continue to be in this high threat environment. On the one-year anniversary of the attack on the Capitol, FBI Director Wray observed that “the problem of domestic terrorism has metastasized across the country.”
Our investigative efforts must be intelligence-driven and threat-driven – and they are. The number of FBI investigations of suspected domestic violent extremists has more than doubled since the spring of 2020, as has the number of FBI personnel responding to this threat.
Unfortunately, this increase in resources is necessary because we have seen a record increase in hate crimes in the United States, reaching their highest level in 12 years. In response, the FBI has elevated hate crimes and criminal civil rights violations to the highest national threat priority, increasing resources for hate crime prevention and investigation, and making hate crimes a priority for the office’s 56 field offices.
The threat environment and resource demands mean that collaboration across departments, agencies, states, and local levels is more important than ever.
The DOJ’s national security and civil rights divisions, now more than ever, coordinate closely to leverage all of the department’s expertise. The National Security Division created a unit dedicated to investigating domestic terrorism.
Even before the release of the National Strategy last year, the ministry was stepping up its efforts. During the first weeks of the new administration, my office convened the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee. Originally created in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, this body – DTEC – serves as an important interagency coordination mechanism on domestic terrorism issues.
We have also changed the way our prosecutors and investigators report and track investigations related to domestic terrorism to provide a more accurate picture of the threat across the country. As we did in the aftermath of 9/11, and to ensure we have a national picture of the threat and our investigations, we are taking a data-driven approach to addressing this issue and emphasizing a coordinated and cohesive approach to disrupting these threats.
These efforts advance one of the key objectives of the strategy, which is to improve information sharing within and outside the federal government.
The FBI is at the forefront of our efforts, including through nearly 200 Joint Terrorism Task Forces across the country and through the work of its Domestic Terrorism-Hate Crimes Fusion Cell to ensure information sharing. transparent across the organization.
And in each U.S. Attorney’s office, we bring together the expertise to track domestic terrorism and hate-fueled violence — each U.S. Attorney’s office has a Counterterrorism Advisory Council as well as a Civil Rights Coordinator. And we’ve enhanced homegrown terrorism training across all of our US Attorney’s offices to ensure our staff are best prepared to deal with these issues.
And because failure to acknowledge the existence of hate crimes can leave victims and communities feeling devalued and disconnected from government, law enforcement and society at large, we are raising the visibility of our efforts to combat hatred and domestic terrorism. Our goal is to deter these crimes, communicate intolerance towards them, and ensure that there is accountability for crimes that inflict harm not just on an individual victim, but on entire communities.
To that end, the FBI hosts regional conferences on federal civil rights and hate crime laws to encourage reporting and build trust with the communities we serve. We also launched an FBI-led National Hate Crimes Campaign involving all 56 FBI field offices.
We are adding or expanding key positions. The Attorney General recently appointed a new Hate Crime Resource Coordinator and a Language Access Coordinator to help ensure people have the resources they need. And the Civil Rights Division now has a facilitator who provides expedited review of hate crime cases.
We cannot come together on this subject without acknowledging and condemning the appalling rise in violence we have seen from a range of ideologies directed against public officials, including members of the Supreme Court. We do not condone this criminal behavior and have taken steps to address it, including members of the US Marshals Service working around the clock to help protect members of the court and to support the Supreme Court Marshal and police. of the Supreme Court.
My message to the department — including all 94 U.S. prosecutors’ offices across the country — too many of whom have responded or will respond to a critical incident — is that we are doing our job as one department. A department deeply committed to disruption and confronting terror and hatred, the National Security Division leading the response to domestic terrorism, working closely with the Civil Rights Division when, as has too often been the case with the latter months, bias-driven extremism and hate crimes are emerging.
The men and women of the Department of Justice work every day to combat hate and extremism, not only because it is our job, but because we believe that no one in our country should fear violence or threats. of violence because of who he is. We believe it is our collective responsibility to do all we can to confront hate in all its forms.
Thank you for inviting me here today and for your collective leadership in protecting all Americans from hate and extremist violence.