Why is it so difficult to fight domestic terrorism? 6 experts share their thoughts

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The United States’ first-ever national strategy for countering domestic terrorism calls for better information-sharing among law enforcement agencies and efforts to prevent extremist groups from recruiting online. Published in June 2021, the document is bolstered by the recent introduction of several counterterrorism bills. The Department of Homeland Security has earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to prevent attacks.

After two decades of successive administrations focusing almost exclusively on the foreign militant Islamist threat, it appears that domestic far-right extremism, especially white supremacy and militia violence, is now at the top of the national security agenda. However, far-right political violence is not new, nor are coordinated efforts to eliminate it.

America has a long history of failed anti-terrorism programs, from the much-neglected Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 to the quick and forceful legislative response to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

Experts are concerned that this latest plan will not represent a new direction, but rather a continuation of past counterterrorism efforts, including violations of citizens’ rights and discrimination against people of certain ethnic or religious backgrounds.

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