The Biden administration’s domestic terrorism strategy threatens to criminalize conservative speech and thought
07/05/2021 // News Editors // Views

On his first day in office, President Biden initiated an unprecedented review of U.S. government efforts to counter domestic terrorism. This review has now resulted in the first-ever national strategy to combat domestic terrorism.

(Article by Max Abrahms republished from

The National Security Council document, entitled the National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, notes that "domestic terrorism can take many forms, inspired by a wide range of violent ideologies." It emphasizes that "the definition of domestic terrorism in our law makes no distinction based on political views—left, right, or center—and neither should we." And the document thus pledges "to confront domestic terrorism regardless of the particular ideology that motivates individuals to violence."

Despite these assurances, nobody on the political Right genuinely believes that the National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism will be implemented in an "ideologically neutral manner" as the Biden administration promises.

When it comes to political neutrality, the National Strategy has already gotten off to an inauspicious start. As everyone knows, the immediate impetus for the counterterrorism review was the January 6 unrest at the Capitol. Democrats have been smart to draw maximum attention to this tragic day and interpret it through the prism of "terrorism," because we know from the political science literature on terrorism that terrorist activity tends to backfire politically on the perpetrators by eroding popular support and strengthening the executive to crush dissent.


To help depict the events of January 6 as terrorism, Democrats and their anti-Trump media allies have repeatedly promoted the misimpression that the perpetrators killed somebody. The New York Times reported on January 8 that Capitol officer Brian Sicknick died in the melee from getting "struck with a fire extinguisher." This account of his death was then cited in House Democrats’ February trial memorandum to impeach former President Trump.

Throughout the impeachment, Trump’s political enemies—from CNN to MSNBC, to the Lincoln Project, to Nancy Pelosi—emphasized that the January 6 attack on the Capitol was a terrorist incident that killed Officer Sicknick. Even after the official medical examiner concluded in April that Sicknick died from natural causes, President BidenMSNBC, and CNN have continued to promote the politically self-serving fiction that he was killed in a terrorist attack. Side with the medical examiner and you are branded a January 6 "truther." By mischaracterizing Sicknick’s cause of death as terrorism in defiance of the scientific assessment, Democrats have not only cynically weakened right-wing groups, but laid the foundation for rooting out Trump supporters in the name of counterterrorism.

The policy document itself belies the expressed goal of ideological neutrality. The preface lists only examples of attacks by far Right perpetrators—specifically, the ones in CharlestonPittsburgh, and El Paso. Ironically, there is no mention anywhere in the document of the April 2 Capitol attack—which did in fact kill an officer—presumably because the perpetrator was a follower of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam. While whitewashing such recent terrorist attacks from the Left, the counterterrorism document explicitly identifies "racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (principally those who promote the superiority of the white race) and militia violent extremists…as presenting the most persistent and lethal threats."

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