WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, convened a hearing to examine how the federal government can more effectively combat the rise of domestic terrorism, including white supremacist, faith-based, and anti-government violence. The hearing was the second Peters convened this week to continue examining the threat of domestic terrorism and needed actions by the federal government to address this significant and deadly homeland security threat. During the Part I of the hearing on Tuesday, Peters heard how violent attacks inspired by white supremacist, anti-government and other hateful ideologies have adversely impacted communities in Michigan and across the nation.
“On Tuesday, we heard examples of horrific attacks, and the roots of that violence, from faith-based, civil rights, academic, and policy research organizations. The witnesses discussed how this rising violence has affected Asian American, Black, Latino, Arab American and so many other communities, as well as the disturbing rise in anti-Semitic and other faith-based violence. The testimony we heard made it crystal clear that too many Americans are living under the threat of terror, intimidation, and physical violence, that should cause concern for every American,” said Peters during his opening statement.
Peters continued: “I look forward to building on that testimony today, and continuing to dig into what domestic terrorism data the federal government tracks, whether we should be examining additional authorities, and how we can establish enduring federal policies that will put an end to the violence that is terrorizing our communities.”
To watch video of Senator Peters’ opening remarks, click here. For text of Peters’ opening remarks as prepared, click here.
To watch video of Senator Peters’ questions and closing remarks, click here.
During Part II of the hearing today, the Committee heard from a former Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism official, as well as experts representing faith-based, civil rights, and academic and policy research organizations on why white supremacist and anti-government violence continues to rise, how our nation’s threat landscape has changed since 9/11, and how the federal government can better track incidents of domestic terrorism. Peters also asked the witnesses for their perspectives on whether rhetoric from political leaders has contributed to the spike in violent incidents against racial, ethnic and religious groups, and the role social media has to address the threat we face from white supremacist, anti-government, and other domestic violent extremists.
The hearing builds on Peters’ longstanding efforts to ensure the federal government is tackling the rising domestic terrorism threat. Earlier this year, Peters convened a hearing to examine the role of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, and what changes are needed to strengthen efforts to protect civil rights and accurately assess domestic terrorism threats facing communities across the country. Peters also released a bipartisan report on the security, planning, and response failures related to the violent and unprecedented attack on the Capitol by domestic terrorists on January 6th. Last Congress, he secured the expansion of a successful grant program to help houses of worship and other nonprofits protect their facilities from potential attacks. In 2019, Peters helped convene the committee’s first domestic terrorism hearing with a focus on white supremacist violence.