WASHINGTON D.C. — Counterterrorism experts testified before Congress Thursday about the threats of domestic terrorism following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last month and warned that attack may serve as an inspiration for future attacks by extremists.
“The threats we now face are arguably as dangerous as they were in the post 9/11 environment and these threats are not going away,” said Christopher Rodriguez, Director of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) in Washington D.C.
Rodriguez said extremist groups have been fueled by misinformation and dangerous conspiracy and called on elected leaders to condemn extremist rhetoric.
“QAnon, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Anarchists, and Antifa do not espouse mainstream perspectives nor should they be treated and validated as such,” Rodriguez said.
The impact of the insurrection is still visible on Capitol Hill as a razor wire fence still surrounds the U.S. Capitol.
“This attack exposed in the starkest terms, the threat we face from domestic terrorists and from right-wing extremism specifically,” Rodriguez said.
“I do believe that we’ll be fighting domestic terrorism that has its roots and inspiration points from Jan. 6 for the next 10-20 years,” said Elizabeth Neumann, Founder and Managing Director of Neu Summit Strategies and former Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Neumann called on Congress to start a domestic terrorism commission and to change laws so that acts of domestic terrorism are treated with the same severity as foreign terror acts.
Witnesses pointed to concerns about the growing threat here at home.
“While in the past they existed on the fringes of society, they are rapidly becoming part of the cultural mainstream,” Rodriguez said.
Cox Media Group