US Homeland Security to investigate domestic extremism in its ranks

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol highlighted the threat of US-based extremists.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol highlighted the threat of US-based extremists.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US Department of Homeland Security will investigate the potential threat of domestic violent extremism within its own ranks, the department said on Monday (April 26).

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas did not say what prompted the internal review at DHS, but referred to the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

He said it highlighted the threat of US-based extremists.

A group of senior DHS officials "will immediately begin a comprehensive review of how to best prevent, detect, and respond to threats related to domestic violent extremism within DHS," the department said in a statement.

President Joe Biden called for funding to investigate any complaints of white supremacist beliefs at immigration enforcement agencies within DHS in his first budget proposal, which was unveiled this month.

The US military has also faced concerns over white nationalism and other extremism in its ranks after current and former military service members were found to have participated in the attack on the Capitol.

Mayorkas said in a statement on Monday that domestic violent extremism "poses the most lethal and persistent terrorism-related threat to our country today," adding that "hateful acts and violent extremism will not be tolerated" within DHS.

Domestic extremism is a major focus of investigations into the Capitol attack, and members of right-wing extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are among those now facing federal charges in connection with the violence.