Feds release intel on how to best identify domestic terrorists

Feds release intel on how to best identify domestic terrorists
Supporters of Donald Trump outside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, Tyler Merbler

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center released updated intelligence explaining how to identify domestic violent extremists.

Over the last decade, domestic violent extremism has been on the rise and the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol is one glaring example of the increasing problem, according to Axios. The detailed intelligence has reportedly been updated every two years since it was released by the federal agencies back in 2015. Now, it has been updated to include guidance on how community members can identify and report questionable behavior.

Now it has been updated to also highlight initial indicators in reference to "multiple ideologically-motivated U.S.-based violent extremists, given the evolving complexity and variety of factors influencing the domestic threat landscape."

"It is important to consider the totality of an individual’s circumstances when observing potential indicators because some factors may increase the risk that the individual could mobilize to violence in a given situation," according to the guidance.

Per Axios, some indicators include the following:

  • "Changing one's vocabulary, mannerisms or behavior to 'reflect a hardened point of view or new sense of purpose associated with violent extremist causes, particularly after a catalyzing event.'
  • 'Posing with weapons and imagery associated with violent extremism in photos or videos.'
  • "Engaging online concealment tactics like deleting, hiding or manipulating social media as part of an effort to plan a specific act of violence."
According to the new guidance, those close to extremists or members of their communities are usually the first to notice signs of "violent motivations" and are "often best positioned to witness signs of mobilization to violence."
To view the full 2021 edition of the U.S. Violent Extremist Mobilization Indicators, click here.
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