On Nov. 5, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee examined three evolving homeland security threats: domestic terrorism, Chinese cyber and counterintelligence operations, and the risk new technologies pose to the American public.
Latest in Countering Violent Extremism
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Order from Chaos.
On Aug. 4, in Dayton, Ohio, a gunman opened fire and killed nine people. The day before, another shooter killed 22 people in El Paso, Texas, apparently after posting a racist message to the anonymous online forum 8chan decrying an ostensible “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Though there is no indication so far that the Dayton shooting was motivated by extremist political beliefs, the violence in El Paso is the third mass shooting in 2019 to be linked to 8chan and to some form of far-right extremism.
Editor’s Note: The Islamic State’s crimes against women are well known, but it has also managed to appeal to women to join the fight directly or otherwise support the group. Too often, however, governments fail to recognize this risk. Kiriloi Ingram of the University of Queensland draws on her fieldwork in the Philippines to argue that governments and civil society groups need to do a far better job of recognizing the dangers women can pose while also empowering them to help counter violent extremism.
Editor’s Note: In recent years, so-called homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) have eclipsed returned foreign fighters and other sources of terrorism. National Defense University’s Kim Cragin assesses the HVE threat and finds that, contrary to popular opinion, Western security agencies are disrupting many HVE plots and otherwise doing well against this potentially dangerous threat.
In recent years, counterterrorism policy has focused on making social media platforms hostile environments for terrorists and their sympathizers. From the German NetzDG law to the U.K.’s Online Harms White Paper, governments are making it clear that such content will not be tolerated. Platforms—and maybe even specific individuals—will be held accountable using a variety of carrot-and-stick approaches.
Livestream: Hearing on Social Media Companies’ Efforts to Counter Extremist Content and Misinformation
The House Committee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing titled, “Examining Social Media Companies' Efforts to Counter Online Terror Content and Misinformation” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday. A video of the hearing is available here and below.
Editor’s Note: Government programs to combat violent extremism get far more media attention than resources, in part because it is not clear how to make these programs stronger. Jesse Morton, a former jihadist, and Mitchell Silber, the former NYPD director of intelligence, are working together to combat extremism. Drawing on their experience, they propose a series of practical steps the U.S. government could take to become more effective, focusing on the pre-criminal stage and recidivism, as well as proposing a more coherent bureaucratic division of labor.
Editor’s Note: Programs to counter violent extremism often are well-meaning but misconceived and poorly resourced. As a result, for jihadist-linked terrorism they usually prove ineffective and are a policy afterthought rather than a key counterterrorism tool for the United States. Eric Rosand, the director of The Prevention Project and a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings, argues that these programs can be critical components of effective counterterrorism for right-wing and other forms of domestic terrorism.
Editor’s Note: Programs to counter violent extremism seemed under siege in the early days of the Trump administration, with officials questioning their focus and very purpose. Seamus Hughes and Haroro J. Ingram, of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, argue that far less has changed than most people recognize. Despite a lot of rhetoric, U.S. government CVE programs have a similar orientation as they did under Obama but remain underfunded and inadequate.