Walker Opening Statement at Anti-Semitic Domestic Terrorism Hearing

WASHINGTON Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Intelligence and Counterterrorism subcommittee ranking member, today delivered the following opening statement at a subcommittee hearing entitled, “Confronting the Rise in Anti-Semitic Domestic Terrorism, Part II.”

I would like to thank Chairman Rose for scheduling today’s hearing to follow up on Federal efforts to address anti-Semitism and domestic terrorism.

Last month, we had the opportunity to hear directly from faith-based organizations, think tanks, and others on the growing threat of anti-Semitic rhetoric and violence around the world. Witnesses testified about growing threats to their communities from a wide variety of hateful ideologies and the need for more Federal coordination and support.

I look forward to hearing from our distinguished panel about ongoing Federal efforts to combat domestic extremism and terrorism. Earlier this month, FBI Director Wray testified that the Bureau had elevated racially motivated violent extremism to a threat level on par with Islamist terrorism. In response, the FBI has established a new fusion cell to better coordinate the response to domestic terrorism and hate crimes, and Joint Terrorism Task Forces across the U.S. have been instructed to increase their focus on domestic terrorism. I want to welcome the new FBI Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division, Jill Sanborn, for her first appearance before the Homeland Security Committee.

Similarly, the Department of Homeland Security has taken a number of actions to expand efforts to address domestic terrorism. In April 2019, DHS launched the new Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention, or TVTP, to coordinate efforts across the Department and focus on building prevention capabilities. This office is also working with FEMA to administer the new TVTP grant program. DHS also released the first Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence, which is a holistic review of DHS counterterrorism capabilities and how they can be utilized to address targeted violence and domestic extremism. I look forward to hearing more about the implementation plans for all of these efforts and how DHS will expand information sharing and outreach efforts with the faith-based community.  

I applaud the great work that is being done by this Administration – it is clear that it is taking the increased domestic extremism threats seriously. I remain steadfast in my commitment to an open, bipartisan discussion about domestic terrorism and hateful ideologies, and my search for meaningful recommendations for addressing these very real threats to our homeland. We have and we must continue to work in a bipartisan fashion to help provide the necessary tools to our communities that address these complex problems.

I thank the witnesses for appearing here today and I yield back the balance of my time.

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