Pfluger Opening Statement at Hearing on State & Local Responses to Domestic Terrorism
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, delivered the following opening statement in a hearing entitled “State and Local Responses to Domestic Terrorism: The Attack on the U.S. Capitol and Beyond.”
Thank you, Madam Chair, and I am pleased that the Subcommittee is holding this hearing today on a topic that is very top-of-mind for many Americans these days. I appreciate your commitment to work in a bipartisan way to address all terror threats facing this country.
As we saw in our first official briefing as a subcommittee, getting straight answers from the agencies we oversee can be a difficult task; however, I am committed to working closely with you on these issues.
Violent extremism by any group of any political persuasion is unacceptable.
Many of these violent threats are being driven by rampant disinformation and misinformation online, and has left federal, state, and local authorities with new, unprecedented challenges. All of this has led to worthwhile discussions and debates around the merits of whether new criminal statutes are needed to combat domestic terrorism. At the end of the day: we must protect our first amendment.
In the wake of the attacks on 9/11, Washington passed many laws which impact the national security space to this day. Some of these laws were well thought-out and have benefited the American people greatly. Others were made as a knee jerk reaction. We need to make sure we are taking a thoughtful and measured approach to the legislation we consider in Congress.
Today, I hope to hear from our panel of witnesses their views on their own state domestic terror laws, as well as the efficacy of existing federal criminal offenses used in domestic terror cases. I also hope to hear from them how state and local authorities utilize federal grant programs, including the Department of Homeland Security’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) grant program. We must determine not only how, but if, this programing is working to combat the terror threat in our local communities.
It is incumbent upon those of us on this subcommittee to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security is doing everything it can to protect Americans from domestic violent extremists. DHS should be at the forefront of information sharing, intelligence analysis, and threat mitigation.
We look forward to working with state and local authorities and having a bipartisan discussion to learn more about how we can assist these important partners in their efforts to combat the terror threat.
I thank our witnesses for their willingness to appear before the subcommittee, today, and I yield back the balance of my time.