Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder, Jr. on Monday announced the creation of a task force within the Justice Department to combat an “escalating danger” from “homegrown” terrorists within the United States.
The Justice Department, in a news release accompanying Holder’s weekly video address, cited a Congressional Research Service report last year that said domestic terrorists were responsible for more than two dozen incidents in the U.S. since 9/11.
Holder, in the video, cited the Boston Marathon bombings last year and shootings at Fort Hood in 2009 and 2014 as examples of “the danger we face from these homegrown threats.”
The FBI was criticized for its decision not to share information with local law enforcement agencies about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the brothers authorities say were behind the bombings.
The task force will chiefly comprise leaders from the FBI, the Justice Department’s National Security Division and U.S. Attorneys. Called the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, it is a recreation of a task force formed by former Atty. Gen. Janet Reno after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The task force fell into disuse after 9/11.
Though the original task force, which was little known, focused mainly on right-wing zealots, Holder’s version is aimed at U.S. citizens or visitors radicalized via the Internet. Holder said the government will continue to fight terrorists abroad.
“But we also must concern ourselves with a different type of threat. We face an escalating danger from self-radicalized individuals within our own borders,” he said.
“Horrific terror incidents like the tragic shootings at Fort Hood and last year’s Boston Marathon bombing demonstrate the danger we face from these homegrown threats,” Holder said in the video posted on the department’s website.
“Now — as the nature of the threat we face evolves to include the possibility of individual radicalization via the Internet — it is critical that we return our focus to potential extremists here at home,” Holder said.