White House Calls Capitol Riot “Domestic Terrorist Attack” in Report – –

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White House Calls Capitol Riot “Domestic Terrorist Attack” in Report – –


The White House released a report on Tuesday that called the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill a “domestic terrorist attack” and endorsed an Internet purge of “extremist” content.

The description is likely to attract strong disagreement from former President Donald Trump’s allies who say the riot, which disrupted President Biden’s certification of victory, was used to facilitate political censorship.

The Biden administration’s report also calls for enhanced cooperation between the federal government and private internet companies and asks the Justice Department to consider whether to push for a new domestic anti-terrorism law.

The Capitol Riot is described as an example of domestic terrorism alongside the 1921 Tulsa racial massacre, which left an estimated 75 to 300 dead, and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which claimed 168 dead.

“Internal terrorist attacks in the United States have also frequently been committed by those who oppose our government institutions. In 1995, in the largest act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history, a violent anti-government extremist detonated a bomb in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people – including 19 children – and injuring hundreds more, ”the report said.

Rioters clash with police outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Rioters clash with police outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Photo de JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images

“In 2016, a violent anti-authority extremist ambushed, shot and killed five police officers in Dallas. In 2017, a sniper injured four people during congressional baseball practice. And just a few months ago, on January 6, 2021, Americans witnessed an unprecedented attack on a central institution of our democracy: the United States Congress.

Biden requested the report during his first week in office – just days after the Capitol Hill chaos, for which around 440 people face criminal charges.

Although the term terrorism broadly defines the use of violence for political reasons, the terminology used to describe the events of January 6 often ignites the debate. For example, many Democrats use the term “insurgency,” which Republicans see as overheated.

Many details remain unknown about the riot, especially if participants planned in advance the breach of the security perimeter of the Capitol.

Ashli ​​Babbitt, who was killed by a police officer in the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.
Ashli ​​Babbitt, who was killed by a police officer in the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.
Maryland MVA / Courtesy of Calvert County Sheriff’s Office via AP

Three Trump supporters died of medical emergencies during the riot and another, Ashli ​​Babbitt, 36, was shot dead by a police officer as she tried to climb through a shattered window into the President’s lobby. Bedroom. Capitol Hill police officer Brian Sicknick, 42, himself a Trump supporter, died of a stroke after pushing back the crowd. His original death was misreported following a bludgeoning with a fire extinguisher. At least two police officers and a suspected rioter died by suicide as a result of the riot.

A senior administration official defended the inclusion of the Capitol Riot during a press call, noting that the report also describes the 2017 Congressional baseball shooting against Republican members of Congress, which has was committed by a leftist supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders (i- Vermont.).

“It’s a strategy that is ideologically agnostic or off the spectrum. What matters is when individuals take their political or other grievances and unacceptably and illegally turn them into violent action. This is where it fits into the framework of this document. This is where it becomes something that is considered domestic terrorism and requires the kind of response that not only protects public safety, but in a sense protects. [against] threats to our democratic integrity, ”he said.

The document says the United States supports the Christchurch Call to Action to Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online, which aims to restrict content available online in the wake of the mass murder of 51 people in 2019. in a mosque in New Zealand. The State Department quietly endorsed this private-public international pressure for restrictions in May.

« [T]he United States supports the Christchurch Call to Action to Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online. We applaud the language of the Christchurch Appeal underlining the importance of addressing the very real threat posed by terrorist content online while respecting human rights and freedom of expression, ”said the new document.

Riots inside the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Riots inside the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP via Getty Images

Much of the report emphasizes private sector cooperation. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have already banned or indefinitely suspended Trump and many of his supporters in the wake of the Capitol riot, and the Biden administration’s new document could be used to bolster their positions.

“The recruitment and mobilization of individuals against domestic terrorism occurs in many contexts, both in person and online. These activities are increasingly taking place on Internet communication platforms, including social media, online gaming platforms, file download sites and end-to-end encrypted chat platforms, although these products and services frequently provide other important benefits, ”the White House Document said.

“The widespread availability of domestic terrorist recruiting material online is a threat to national security, the front lines of which are predominantly private sector online platforms, and we are committed to more effectively informing the growing efforts of these platforms. to secure those front lines. “

The document does not specifically call for new laws or national oversight, but asks the Justice Department to consider the idea.

« [W]We must ask ourselves whether legislative reforms could significantly and materially increase our ability to protect Americans from acts of domestic terrorism while simultaneously protecting against potential overbroad abuses. New criminal laws, in particular, should only be sought after carefully considering whether and how they are needed to help the government address complex and multifaceted challenges like that posed by domestic terrorism, and only while ensuring the protection of civil rights and freedoms. “, Indicates the document.

People in the Senate Chamber during the Capitol Riot on January 6, 2021.
People in the Senate Chamber during the Capitol Riot on January 6, 2021.
United States Capitol Police via AP

The Patriot Act, passed after September 11 to allow surveillance of international terrorists, was then secretly reinterpreted to allow for the mass collection of domestic call records, which was revealed in 2013 and ended in law.

The new document states that “the Justice Department is carefully considering what new authorities might be necessary and appropriate.”

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