The Stream

Can the US confront its domestic terror threat?

On Thursday, February 4 at 19:30 GMT:
The violent mob attack on the US Capitol Building in January left the country facing a higher risk of domestic terrorism, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

“Ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” a government advisory paper said in January.

Domestic terrorism, though, is not a chargeable offence in the US. While individuals can be charged with criminal acts that are considered acts of terror, a report from the US Congressional Research Service said: “there is no federal criminal statute that establishes criminal penalties solely for ‘domestic terrorism.’”

So, how do US authorities tackle a problem that is not technically a crime? And, with reports of increased surveillance plans, rigorous no-fly lists and expanded national security powers, civil rights groups are concerned that proposed legislation will have an outsized impact on minority communities.

We’ll discuss the biggest terror threat facing the US today, how it can be tackled and what impact proposed terror laws could have on civil liberties.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Colin P. Clarke, @ColinPClarke
Director of Policy and Research, Soufan Group

Moustafa Bayoumi, @BayoumiMoustafa
Professor, Brooklyn College

Diala Shamas, @dialash
Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights