Former New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton warned CNBC’s The News with Shepard Smith that domestic terrorism has superseded the threat of international terrorism in the United States.
“For the past 20 years our greatest concern has been international terrorism – ISIS, Al-Qaeda,” Bratton said in an interview on Friday evening. “Now it is here, and it is us, and it is the citizens of the United States, some of whom are rebelling against everything we have believed in for the past 300 to 400 years.”
Former Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism officer Nate Snyder reiterated Bratton’s views on The News with Shepard Smith.
“When you talk about the lethality of the threat, domestic terrorism – that is, violent white supremacists, neo-Nazis, sovereign citizens, militia movements – has been the deadliest threat in the last decade compared to Al Qaeda and ISIS-inspired threats,” said Snyder.
State capitals across the country are at risk of violence in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. FBI Director Christopher Wray urged state officials to take any extremist threat seriously during an inauguration safety briefing on Friday at FEMA headquarters.
“If we discover that a person poses a violent threat, we and our partners will use every legitimate authority and method to interrupt any attempt or attack,” Wray said. “Our attitude is aggressive; It will stay that way with the initiation. “
Wray said the agency was following “extensive” online chatter, including calls for armed protests. Some internet extremists have ignored President Trump’s call for peace, citing the fact that, according to Politico, he has still not officially admitted. There are also some extremists on the Telegram instant messaging platform who, according to the Washington Post, are calling for surprise attacks across the country.
Bratton told host Shepard Smith that it was “much, much more difficult” to fight domestic terrorism and that the US lacks the “tools to fight domestic terrorism” as it does in fighting international terrorism is. Snyder criticized the detrimental impact of the Trump administration’s policies on weakening the country’s ability to counter threats posed by neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and sovereign citizens.
“Unfortunately, during this administration, there has been a systematic atrophy of these efforts, not just from my previous office, but also from analysts in the department’s intelligence and analysis department who would focus primarily on tracking these threats,” said Snyder.
The National Park Service has closed the National Mall due to widespread safety concerns. The Army confirmed Friday that up to 25,000 National Guard troops will be in DC to ensure safety for Biden’s inauguration. That’s roughly five times the number of troops the US currently has in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bratton said there should be more transparency when it comes to law enforcement providing information to U.S. citizens to keep them informed and keep them safe.
“I hope that after January 20th we will return to a situation where we can become more transparent and open and where American law enforcement can be where they need to be, on these podiums rather than with you speak some of us, ex-law enforcement officers, “Bratton said.