tv Hearing on Domestic Terrorism CSPAN August 9, 2021 2:20am-4:18am EDT
>> the committee will come to order. this is the first of two hearings the committee will hold this week to continue examining the mystic terrorism threat in the united states and the actions the federal government should take to address this alarming drive of extremist violence, including white supremacist violence, antigovernment violence, anti-semitic and other faith-based violence and violence targeting communities of color. today we will hear from experts
representing faith-based, civil-rights, academic and policy research organizations, on how increasing violent attacks motivated by ethnicity, race, religion, and politics have impacted countless americans. i'd like to thank each of our witnesses for joining us today and for their work in the public and private sectors to protect the american people. i look forward to hearing each of your perspectives on how to better define the threat and its risks, how it spreads, the impact it has on communities, and what more the federal government should do to address domestic terrorism all respecting american civil rights and their civil liberties. in the last few years our nation has witnessed horrific acts of violence, such as the massacres at the emmanuel african methodist episcopal curse in charleston, the tree of life synagogue in pittsburgh, and the shopping center in el paso that
targeted black, jewish, and latino americans, respectively. even more recently we have seen rising violent attacks on asian americans and are growing antigovernment movement that planned and executed an attack on the seat of our democracy earlier this year. while these only represent a handful of attacks driven by white supremacy and violent extremism, each one takes an unimaginable toll on the victims and their families. communities across the country live in fear that they could be attacked or murdered on the street, in their place of worship, or all going about their daily lives, just because of who they are. i'm particularly concerned that these attacks, along with the growing climate of hateful rhetoric, intimidation and targeted violence that we are seeing across the country are a signal of something worse to come. if the federal government does not take swift action to address this festering threat i fear we
will see more tragic attacks and lose more lives to domestic violent extremism. but effectively combating this growing threat requires the federal government to accurately assess it, track and publicly report these incidents and use that data to ensure that we are devoting the appropriate resources and personnel to tackled the threat. organizations like the antidefamation league and the center for strategic and international studies have tracked data related to domestic violent extremism and concluded that our nation is facing the highest levels of violence based on religion, race, ethnicity and politics in decades. i'm disappointed that despite these clear warning signs, the federal government has failed to effectively track rising domestic terrorism threats. i've been raising concerns about this failure for years. i've worked alongside senator johnson to write a provision signed into law as part of the
2019 national defense authorization act to require dhs , fbi and the office of director of national intelligence report this critical data. despite passing the law, the first report was nearly nine months overdue and did not provide all of the requested data. we need to get serious about taking on these heinous threats and the violence that stems from them and in my view we must change the way the federal government approaches domestic terrorism. that will require not only improving the way the government tracks the threat but also better understanding how these hateful ideology spread across social media platforms and how that online transmission can lead to real world violence. this is an issue this committee will continue to examine throughout the year and i look forward to taking what we learn from our witnesses today and using it to inform our efforts going forward. whether we are conducting
oversight or working on additional policy solutions, we must ensure that we are doing everything in our power to address the grave threat posed by domestic terrorism. with that, i turn it over to ranking member portman for his opening comments. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate your holding this hearing to examine the persistent and concerning threat posed by do mystic terrorists and violent extremists. this is a threat to communities all across our country. today we will hear from representatives of certain communities that have been affected by the violence they have experienced. von very much looking forward to hearing their testimony, it is important we recognize all communities that have been impacted by do mystic terrorism and violent extremism. not all of those are represented here today. it is important to recognize the threat of all types of domestic terrorism. interestingly, just in the last week here in the u.s. senate, we
have been learning more about one of those thomistic terrorist threats listed by the federal bureau of investigation that we won't hear about today. this is eco-terrorism. it turns out that one of the nominees from the biden administration nonmajor run the bureau of land management had been involved in eco-terrorism, putting spikes into trees that then cause injury to longer us and others who are involved in timbering. so there are lots of kinds of terrorism, domestic terrorists and violent extremists are not a new phenomenon, nor are the methods that are used to advance their causes. as chairman of the permanent subcommittee on investigations, which is a subcommittee of this full committee, held a hearing in july of 2016 examining foreign terrorist use of our internet and social media platforms or radicalization and recruitment. that hearing was also aimed at understanding the threat and how
the government was and should be addressing the threat. we heard directly from witnesses at the department of homeland security, the fbi and the state department. this was a bipartisan investigation that was shocking. i am disappointed we will not hear testimony from a single government official about how the federal government is addressing that investing terrorism and violent extremists threat. each of the witnesses of the july 2016 permanent subcommittee investigations hearing highlighted the challenges we face combating terrorism in the age of the internet, including the reality that the digital environment often accelerates recruitment and radicalization efforts, and the speed with which individuals online can mobilize to violence. often referred to as the flash to bang effect. five years later we are still seeing the same weapons being used within our own communities.
we are increasingly seeing many domestic violent actors connecting with and learning from foreign groups and individuals. domestic terrorists and violent extremists inspired by a range of ideological beliefs. on the right and on the left. they are increasingly using these digital platforms to spread hate and incite violence at home. as americans we value our first amendment rights, including the right to express our beliefs. nothing gives someone a right to carry out acts of violence. we must acknowledge assaults on government, specifically law enforcement. violent extremists from all segments are increasingly targeting the military, law enforcement and government personnel. i wrote a letter to the department of homeland security, to the secretary of homeland security in may requesting information on what the department was doing to deter and combat violent attacks,
including on their personnel. any attack on our nations law enforcement or other government officials is an attack on the rule of law and on our american ideals. the safety and security of our communities has been a key priority for this committee and for me. after the pittsburgh tree of life tragedy, i brought together leaders of faith-based groups and nonprofit entities across ohio for a security conference in columbus to discuss how to best respond to these threats. we had the department upon -- the department of homeland security, the fbi. we talked about what could be done at the conference. we said congress can and should do more. i redoubled efforts in congress to provide communities with the resources needed to protect themselves from acts of violence. i have worked to support the department of from insecurity's grant program -- homeland security's grant program to secure facilities. last year, our bipartisan protecting faith-based and nonprofit organization from terrorism act with chairman
peters was signed into law, which authorized $75 million annually for five years for the grant program. in wake of the recent violence against religious communities i sponsored the bipartisan prey safe act with senators hassan, johnson, rounds, peters and rosen to establish a federal clearinghouse of faith-based entities can act as safety and security best practices available federal gap programs and training opportunities. the threats and attacks on all faith-based organizations and houses of worship must stop. in the interim i urge my colleagues to support this important bipartisan legislation to provide that critical information. i am pleased to see my former colleague in the house of representatives among witnesses today, eric fingerhut. i appreciate his commitment, and the jewish federation of
america's support of the prey safe act and the nonprofit security grant program. let me be clear. there is no place for hatred or bigotry of any kind toward our fellow citizens. in confronting the challenges we must take a holistic approach to the threats. today's witnesses will speak to this topic. we need to hear from government witnesses who were not here today on how the federal government is responding to it. only then can we develop a comprehensive strategy to combat these troubling trends. i appreciate the witnesses being here today and i look forward to your insights and perspectives and your ideas on how we can better combat terrorism and violent extremists in our country so we can learn what more congress can and should do to counter the threats. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, member portland. this is a complex and important issue. i agree with you that we need to hear from government witnesses
in september to have a hearing with them to pick up on what we are going to cover today, as well as on thursday. it is the practice of the homeland security and government affairs committee to swear in witnesses. if you will stand and raise her -- ray your hand, including those on video, i would appreciate it. do you swear the testimony he -- the testimony you will give before this committee will be the truth, the full truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? >> i do. >> i do. sen peters: everybody answered affirmatively. you may be seated. thank you. our first witness is mr. wade henderson, who serves as the interim president of the leadership conference on civil and human rights. it advocates on behalf of more than 200 national civil and human rights member organizations. the leadership conference members include the
anti-defamation league, the aclu, the naacp, the arab community center for economic and social services, and the american jewish community, among others. prior to his role, he was the washington bureau director of the naacp. welcome, mr. henderson, you are recognized for your five-minute opening statement. mr. henderson: good morning, chairman peters, ranking member portman, and those of the committee. thank you for holding this committee on the federal response to domestic terrorism. last week, the house select committee held its first hearing investigating the violent january 6 attacks on this very institution. an attack fueled by white supremacy. we all saw a confederate flag unfurled in the senate chamber that day. we all saw people wearing
anti-semitic paraphernalia. and we all saw a noose constructed outside the u.s. capitol. it was unlike anything we have experienced since the civil war. as we heard from police officers who were on the front lines that day, the horrific consequences of the insurrection are still with us now. and for our diverse coalition made up of more than 220 national organizations committed to the protection of civil and human rights this violence is anything but new. for more than 400 years, black, brown and native people and other marginalized groups have borne the brunt of structural inequality, racism and discrimination. policies like american chattel slavery, the forced removal of people from their homelands, jim crow segregation, redlining, lynchings and racial
discrimination have all contributed to intergenerational harm that persists today. indeed, today marks the two-year anniversary of the tragic attack in el paso, texas. i white supremacist gunman murdered 23 people. we know that for too long the threat of this violence has been weaponized, not only by white supremacists but also by laws and programs that target us rather than protect us. to address white supremacist violence and terrorism i would like to offer four recommendations today. first, congress must pass the for the people act to push back against the great white supremacist lie that encouraged the january 6 insurrection and has given rise to unprecedented attacks against voting rights. this friday marks the anniversary of the 1965 voting rights act.
the senate must pass as one and honor the many who gave their lives to protect our democracy. second, congress should demand federal agencies show how they are fighting white supremacist violence through existing tools and reject any new domestic terrorism charge with sentencing enhancements. there are already more than 50 terrorism-related statutes on the books, and over a dozen other criminal laws, some of which are being used to prosecute the january 6 insurrectionist. our nation's long history of abusing national security mechanisms, including the use of co-intel pro against dr. king, the post 9/11 targeting of arabs and muslims, and the fbi's prioritization of "black identity extremists" service -- serve as cautionary tales of how expanded national security authority leads to unjust targeting of already over policed communities.
third, congress must identify ways to address and dismantle white supremacy and law enforcement. while many police officers work to fulfill their duties honorably, transformational change is still needed to address the culture of policing that helps promote white supremacy groups, as well as discriminatory policing practices and policies that make us all less safe. congress must demand a full accounting of how law enforcement is addressing white supremacy in their ranks, and the white supremacy in law enforcement information act is a good first step. congress and federal agencies must identify ways to ensure officers who incite racist violence are no longer welcomed. it is why the george floyd justice in policing act is so important. finally, congress must pass hr 40 to study reparations of african-americans and create the
u.s. commission on truth, racial healing and transformation. excuse me. may and june 2021 marked the centennial anniversary of the tulsa massacre when a white supremacist mob burned businesses and homes to destroy the success of the black tulsa community. yet many americans still know nothing about this tragedy while others -- black people have been targeted with brutal violence and they continue to be deprived of the benefits of economic growth. congress must pass hr 40 and come to terms with the contradiction of who we say we are as a democracy and who we actually are. reparations are owed, transformation is required. now is the time to create a shared vision for our nation,
one where all people feel safe, valued and heard. thank you and i look forward to your questions. sen peters: thank you, mr. henderson. our second witness, former congressman eric fingerhut is the ceo of the jewish federation of north america that comprises more than 146 independent federations across the net -- united states and a network of 300 smaller jewish communities around the globe. these organizations work to protect and enhance the well-being of the jewish community worldwide. prior to his role, congress and fingerhut served as ceo of el-al international. the largest jewish campus organization in the world. he served as an ohio state senator and represented ohio's 19th congressional district in washington. welcome, mr. fingerhut. you are recognized for your opening statement. mr. fingerhut: thank you, chairman peters.
thank you to my home state senator ranking member senator portman, and all the members of this distinguished committee. this is an indeed important hearing that covers a truly pernicious threat to racial, ethnic and religious communities, and requires a compelling and timely congressional response. i speak of the rise of domestic violent extremism. senator peters, you outlined the role of the jewish federation. i know the numbers of this committee are familiar with the work the jewish federation has done. with our leadership in your respective states. we thank you for all the many ways you have supported our mission across the full spectrum of jewish communal life. security has always been a core concern of the jewish federation. we know the ability and competence of our community to participate in jewish religious and cultural life depends on feeling safe. safe to attend synagogues.
safe to drop our children offer preschooler day camp. safe to walk down the street wearing visibly jewish head coverings and clothing. gathering in groups to celebrate, to mourn, and to be active in the life of our communities, our campuses and civic associations. our current era begin immediately post 9/11. recognizing the violence that reached american shores have consequences for the jewish community. many jewish federations begin organizing local community security initiatives led by experienced and trained focal -- local community security directors. to work with each of the synagogues and jewish institutions in their communities. today roughly 45 jewish federations have such initiatives and are currently raising and allocating approximately $30 million in private funds for this effort
above and beyond what each school, each synagogue, community center and social service agency must bend on its own security. we are in the middle of an extensive national effort called live secure to ensure every jewish federation has such a system in place for its community. at the national level the jewish federation helped created the secure community network to offer support to communities needed to establish and maintain the initiative and provide communication links o and liaison with national law enforcement. we are proud to work the -- with the department of homeland security since its creation to advance this work. mr. chairman, for the jewish community the rising threat not only includes the horrific killing of 11 jewish congregants who were praying at the tree of life synagogue building in pittsburgh, pennsylvania, in october of 2018, but includes
the mass shootings at the synagogue in poway, california in december of 2018 and the kosher market in december of 2019. the machete attack at a hanukkah celebration in december of 2019. the numerous physical attacks on the streets of brooklyn and other communities related to the clothing and appearance of jewish victims. now the most recent multiple stabbing of a rabbi in boston this summer in front of his synagogue where he works. these are further exacerbated by the appearance of too many instances of anti-semitic arson, vandalism and disruptive plots and online hate that contain implicit threats of violence to come. to say the jewish community regards physical safety as today's highest priority as a matter of great urgency is not an overstatement. in 2004, congress established the nonprofit security grant
program, a coordinated program that promotes meaningful engagement of at-risk nonprofits with the federal, state and local homeland security officials and provides critical resources to carry out preparedness, planning and training, and the acquisition of targeting investments. it is groundbreaking but tiny by federal standards. an average yearly appropriation of $35 million. this year congress appropriated $108 million for the program, which supported more than 1500. this is still a tiny percentage of the approximately 350,000 to 400,000 individual conjugations -- congregations in the united states, and 1.3 million nonprofits serving communities throughout the country. we respectfully request that congress ensure the resources are there to fulfill all
legitimate and document applications that are made. nevertheless, the nonprofit secured grant program cannot in and of itself adequately mitigate the sector of this great threat. we respectfully request congress designates the charitable sector as a critical part of the nation's infrastructure, supported by a comprehensive plan and the necessary resources to manage its risk, resilience and security outcome as it has afforded 16 other vital sectors. substantially increase the funding of the nonprofit secured grant program i have suggested, and further ensure the integrity of the a program to include the equality -- improve the quality of oversight and technical assistance to stakeholders. we asked congress provide resources to the nsgp program office located within fema and congress allows the agency to withhold 5% to cover their management and administrative costs. we request congress increase
access to dhs's cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency's protective security advisors. as chairman peters mentioned, enact the pray safe act to improve stakeholder outreach and engage them by establishing a federal clearinghouse which faith-based organizations, houses of warships's and other nonprofits can access centralized information on safety and security best practices. chairman peters, thank you for holding today's hearing for steps congress should take to ensure the safety and security of nonprofit organizations. i look forward to answering your questions. sen peters: thank you, mr. fingerhut. our third witness is mr. john yang, president of asian americans advancing justice. he works to address systemic policies, programs and legislative attempts to discriminate against and
marginalize asian americans and pacific islanders and other minority communities. prior to his current role, he cofounded the asian pacific american legal resource center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the legal needs of asian americans -- asian pacific americans in the d.c. metropolitan area. welcome to the committee. you may proceed with their five-minute opening remarks. mr. yang: thank you very much, chairman peters, ranking member portman and the members of this committee for holding this important hearing. i appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today. i appreciate hearing from a good friend and colleague wade henderson. his words are insightful, powerful and i agree wholeheartedly with his investment and recommendation. merriam-webster defines terrorism as a use of terror as a means of coercion. terror is the state of intense or overwhelming fear.
violence or the threat of violence used as a weapon of intimidation. under these definitions the asian-american community has been living under a state of terrorism for the past 18 months, and the first six month of 2021. a pew report shows that over 60% of asian adults have heard people express racist or insensitive views about people who are asian then before covid-19. a similar survey shows over 60% of asian americans witnessed someone blaming asian americans for covid-19. in talking to the community, whether at community events, resource groups, companies or public agencies or just a casual conversation, difficult things have emerged. individuals had described how they have feared for the elders safety, their children and themselves.
they have described telling elders not to go out alone, described their own fear and doing the same and how they have isolated themselves because of these issues. they told stories of being spat upon, pushed, ridiculed in front of their children, and treated as others unworthy of respect. this is the reality of the asian-american community right now. if domestic terrorism is treating fear in a community, what has happened to the asian community must be properly viewed as terrorism. the statistics confirmed the basis for these fears through reporting from several organizations over 7500 active , anti-asian hate have been reported since february of 2020. we all know about the very real physical violence against our community. whether it is the murder of an 84-year-old thai american in california, the murder of six
asian-american women in atlanta, or four sikh americans in indianapolis. this violence against the asian-american community is rooted in two dangerous stereotypes of people of japanese descent during world war ii. we saw that in the backlash against the arab, middle eastern, and south asian-american community after 9/11. we saw it with the murder of vincent chin during the automobile trade were tensions with japan. just as lynching and cross burning are used as a form of terror against the african-american community, we have seen the same in the asian-american committee.
we have very legitimate geopolitical differences and that is likely to remain for the foreseeable future. if we are not careful, those differences will have consequences for our asian-american community and we can expect a backlash. we saw that happen in the backlash against the arab, middle eastern, and south asian-american community after 9/11. we saw it with the murder of vincent chin 39 years ago during the automobile trade were tensions with japan. just as lynching and cross burning are used as a form of terror against the african-american community, we have seen the same in the asian-american committee. while asian americans were doing the hardest work building the transcontinental railroad, we saw asian americans being lynched and burned out of their homes in the western part of the country. we must address these issues
with a proper nuance to call out hate when it occurs. we must pull out misinformation before it distorts reality. the dehumanization by suggesting we eat bats or that we deserve to be ridiculed deserve to be rejected. the information about who was attacking asian americans must be corrected. notwithstanding attempts by some divisions in the community between african brigands and -- african americans and asian americans, let me be clear about one thing. studies done by nih has shown notwithstanding the social media efforts over 75% of the attackers are caucasians. a small percentage are african americans. the person who killed six asian-american women in atlanta was a caucasian male, as was the person he killed four sikh americans in indianapolis. african-americans are not the predominant group attacking asian americans. such narratives are simply
false. facts, education and data are the keys to addressing this. we cannot normalize racism and xenophobic behavior of those who seek to silence communities of color. normalizing racism has created the condition where people feel comfortable terrorizing other communities, inserting the privileges to intimidate and marginalize those communities. these are the issues we must confront if we are to prevent citizens in our country terrorizing others. thank you very much, and i look forward to your questions. sen peters: thank you, mr. yang. our next witness is mr. paul goldenberg, senior advisor to departments established countering violent extremism initiative. prior to his current roles, he played a key role in efforts to counter violent extremism in the
is it on now? thank you. good morning, ladies and gentlemen. my name is paul goldenberg had here is a senior fellow with the rutgers university miller center for community resilience and protection. as i just stated, i recently served as a senior advisor to the united states department of phone insecurity where i was a member of the secretaries homeland advisory committee. i did had several initiatives focused on domestic and international terrorism, such as the countering violent extremism subcommittee, the foreign fighter task force, and more recently had the honor and privilege of serving alongside the united states marine corps general john allen, retired, where we cochaired the subcommittee for the prevention of targeted violence against faith-based communities. before that i did command the nation's first ever state office dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of bias crimes and domestic terrorism situated
in new jersey. i'm proud and honored to be here to speak with this committee on these topics and i sincerely applaud you for your unwavering support to address these serious matters impacting our nation's national security. in framing my testimony it's important to look first beyond america's borders. across europe many houses of worship are surrounded by elite military units standing guard with automatic weaponry reinforced by heavy armored personnel carriers, guard towers augment the once stately and welcoming entryways. flower beds have been swapped for barbed wire, all at a cost of hundreds of millions of euros, and producing a dreadful, unbelievable impact on the psyche of europe's people.
europe has become america's canary in a mine. in my work with rutgers we , traveled across europe where we met with victims, painstakingly following the stories of those who suffered horrific attacks on their communities and houses of worship. right here in the united states as part of our work with the subcommittee, we had the sobering and humbling experience of meeting members of communities who were directly terror and violence, many of experiencing which were themselves victims of targeted attacks. without exception. as these communities work through their grief they were so eager and committed to helping the members of our subcommittee with our work. the adverse impact of domestic terrorism, including those inspired by white supremacy ideology are having on rollable communities are difficult to overstate. from oak creek, wisconsin, to
whitefish, montana, from southern california to southern texas, minneapolis to pittsburgh, targeted violent attacks against vulnerable communities and the institutions they represent have struck at the very core of american freedoms. standing out not just for the escalating death toll, but the cruelty of wounding and killing people at their most vulnerable, while assembled in their houses of worship for prayer. what was once unthinkable has become almost anticipated. the increasing influence of white supremacist separatist radical right, left extremist ideologies, and inspiring acts of domestic terror and targeted violence is moreover not a matter of political opinion, but a demonstrable fact. most attacks are committed primarily by loan attackers as -- by lone attackers as opposed
to organized cells or system of cells. there are a lot of similes to the attacks perpetrated by jihadists, white and black separatist groups and other extremists. they are acting very much alike. these bad actors are radicalized and communicate as part of a wide-ranging movement. the social media platforms and individuals frequent and govern the sites have implemented a comprehensive transnational outlook very much like isis inspired and connected with their potential radicals across the globe. while supremacists and extremist groups now share manifestoes, conspiracy theorists and hate literature with those like-minded beyond the , traditional social media platforms, violinist humans are -- violent humans are using lesser-known platforms as well as encrypted channels. their tactic is to explore the openness of the instrument out -- instrumentalities of freedom.
in this case, social media and the internet, to destroy freedom itself. in this case the foundational freedom of religious conscious. they know this is our achilles' heel. in fact, very much so our achilles' heel. the primary inspiration by these targeted attacks is to force us to not merely question fundamental safety and security is a nation, as well as our ability to protect ourselves, neighborhoods and families, but challenge our behaviors. success in the eyes of these domestic violent extremists come when we depart from daily routines, our way of living, and spiritual and political beliefs. violent extremists understand the power of fear and are getting pretty good at it. as the anti-asian, racist, anti-semitic attacks proliferate, we need to consider the fact that no racial or religious group is being singled out just exclusively, although some are disproportionately targeted.
as hatred and bigotry exist today on both the radical left and the extreme right side of the item logical spectrum, it can be observed among the affluent, the poor, highly educated, the fervently religious and the devoutly secular. it is sometimes expressed crudely, other times in the language of sophisticated and supposedly academically correct. turning the problem to solutions, how we work with american law enforcement to provide the needed tools to address this challenge. notwithstanding the existing framework, gaps exist in law enforcement as they have been hampered in addressing the rise of white supremacist and other domestic related attacks by the inability to classify such attacks as acts of domestic terror. that has led law enforcement to treat attacks committed by violent extremism as isolated, unconnected incidents. it has rendered an extremely limited value to the uniform crime reporting mechanisms that may record similar events differently.
in the absence of the ability to label white supremacists groups as acts of domestic terrorism, i have been informed by state and local law enforcement that they have been unable to avail themselves of resources dedicated to countering these types of terrorism incidents, such as additional personnel, training and technology supported by federal grant programs. i have come to learn the goal of violent extremism is not just to cause loss of life. it is to wear us down. and that, it has begun to do, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. forcing us to decay and ultimately disappear. as attacks perpetrated from these extremists and other separatist groups grow, we should be concerned an adverse public reaction may generate something these bad actors could never have achieved on their own.
in closing, it is about educating leaders, staff, administrators, teachers, and by more effectively working with law enforcement communities. we have the fundamentals to empower ourselves, developing a sense of ownership amongst our entire community. working with state and local authorities, moving the american public beyond awareness to engage in the citizenry should be a primary goal for 2022. thank you very much. sen peters: our next witness is dr. seth jones, senior vice president and director of the international security program at the center for strategic and international studies. with decades of experience, dr. jones leads a bipartisan team dedicated to providing independent strategic insights and policy solutions that shape national policy. dr. jones teaches at johns
hopkins university school of advanced international studies, and the center for homeland defense and security at the u.s. naval postgraduate school. welcome, dr. jones. you may proceed with your opening statement. dr. jones: thank you very much, chairman peters, ranking member portman, and distinguished members of the committee. this is an important subject and i'm glad we're here to discuss this. as this testimony will highlight, objective analysis, sound data is more important than ever to gauge the nature and threat of domestic terrorism, as well as effective responses including responses that congress can take the lead on. i will divide my brief comments into five segments. first, let me just highlight the terminology i will use, and i think it's important. i will focus on terrorism, which includes the deliberate use or
threat of violence by nonstate actors to achieve a range of goals, generally political goals, and create a broad psychological impact. in my judgment violence and the threat of violence are particularly important components of what i call terrorism and are important aspects as we get into discussions about free speech. free speech is protected in the united states. violence, including the threat of violence crosses lines. i will leverage as part of this a data set we have created at the center for strategic international studies that goes back to the mid-1990's and that incorporates approximately 1000 cases, which i take to be roughly the universe of plots and attacks in the united states and in a range of categories within those. second, let me touch base on some of the trends and incidents and fatalities.
our data indicates in 2020, the number of domestic terrorist attacks and plots increased to its highest level since at least 1994, the first year of our data. it is important to note fatalities were relatively low. happy to get into why that is but we are seeing a rise in attacks and plots. one of the reasons we are seeing lower fatalities, at least for the moment is that we are seeing indications from a number of organizations that are prioritizing and sending a message rather than killing large numbers of people the way we had seen with some of the jihadist inspired by the islamic state and al qaeda. but that certainly could change.
the mid-1990's, including the timothy mcveigh attack at a -- in oklahoma city highlights long-term challenges. we will talk about targets. as we have heard from others on this -- that testified so far, our list of targets includes a range of individuals in the u.s. based on ethnicity, race, religious beliefs and other factors, and we have seen individuals based on the fact they are jewish and the targeting of synagogues, african-americans, asian americans, latino americans and others, including based on their political persuasion. highlighting the polarization of politics. they have all been targeted. i would highlight our data shows the highest numbers of individuals in 2020 targeted or those in the military, police, and within the government. a notable increase.
i would highlight piercing individuals targeted, military police and the government from all sides of the ideological spectrum. from anti-fascist and anarchists to white supremacist and antigovernment. focus from all sides of the political spectrum. touching briefly on the fourth area, tactics and weapons, we see a number of explosives and incendiaries used. in terms of lethal and fatal attacks, the highest numbers generally by far between 1994 and 2020 period, 66% of fatalities from domestic terrorism were caused by firearms. 73% of fatalities front of a stick terrorism between 2015 and 2020 were also caused by firearms. let me finish the fifth area. my written testimony includes a number of issues worth considering from a congressional
standpoint. we have heard a number of comments from those who testified so far. let me highlight one issue with which the chairman mentioned in his opening remarks. i think the federal government has to be more transparent about the state of domestic terrorism. that includes data the fbi, the department of homeland security, and to some degree the national counterterrorism, we have to be more transparent as a federal government, including at the state and local level, in key trends, numbers of attacks, plots, fatalities, targets, tactics used. i find the level of transparency troubling within the government. different in many ways from what we see from our partners overseas. british intelligence, including mi five been quite transparent about trends. the germans have been transparent, including the ministry of the interior.
when i was in the department of defense, we were transparent when i was there about the significant acts which included terrorism in afghanistan and iraq. we are not there at this point and i think this is an important component you have already pushed a need to continue. with that i will hold my remarks and i look forward to your questions. thank you. sen peters: thank you, dr. jones for your testimony. mr. henderson, you represent 200 civil rights organizations, including the aclu, the naacp, adl. that means you and your members are at the forefront of the deadly reality that is the threat of domestic terrorism, from white supremacists, antigovernment groups, conspiracy theorists, and a list of violent extremists in our country.
in your view, how has this threat evolved for your members over the last few years? mr. henderson: thank you for the question, mr. chairman. the issue of domestic terrorism and hate crime violence, call it what you will, has been a significant problem throughout the history of the african-american experience and in many other communities as i mentioned in my formal testimony that have been marginalized in american society throughout the time of their presence in this country. i noted of course the experience of african-americans with chattel slavery, with jim crow segregation, with the deprivation of access to the right to vote, and continue to violence directed towards our communities by way of lynching and pogroms that have acute --
that have occurred and and the community in florida affected by all this violence. the same is true of other groups. my colleague john yang talked about the deprivation of liberty suffered by japanese-american citizens during world war ii. or the experience of native americans forcibly relocated from their ancestral lands. all these communities have experienced periods of violence directed at their members for a variety of reasons. all of it stems from a source of white supremacist attitude toward these communities and the denial of their right to equal citizenship and equal protection of the law. the problem has been exacerbated in recent times by the availability of social media. social media has contributed to the radicalization of individuals, the isolation of others in ways that have foster their involvement in this kind of white supremacist hate crime
violence. it's an ongoing, continuing problem of significant magnitude and needs to be addressed. domestic terrorism is the number one priority of the department of justice and the department of homeland security. labeling does matter. however it affects the allocation of resources by the federal government to address these issues. my main contention is that the federal government needs to do what it knows it is required to do by law with respect to all persons in the united states. it has the resources to address these issues. it does not have the political will and that is what i hope these hearings will help provide. sen. peters: thank you. mr. fingerhut, the jewish community has seen some of the
worst acts of violence and anti-semitism in the history of this country in recent years. you mentioned some of those in your opening testimony. how can federal agencies, especially the dhs collaborate with state and local partners to assist communities? what are things we must be doing now? mr. fingerhut: thank you, mr. chairman. i greatly appreciate the question. as i emphasized in my testimony, the support of the federal government for the nonprofit security grant program is essential and critically, sir, it is not only an increase in funding, but the support for the agencies that administer those programs at the federal and state level. and the commitment for the technical support for all the
faith-based and nonprofit institutions that are eligible to apply for them. these are somewhat technical in nature and we do our best through our federation system with other religious and ethnic partners to educate all the faith-based nonprofit institutions about the method and the technical details of the application. it remains an important responsibility of dhs and the fbi to assist these communities. as i mentioned in my testimony, the secure community network, an organization we started with a conference of presidents of major jewish organizations in
the 2004 post 9/11 era is in regular contact with the department of homeland security as it prepares to assist him in the effort. as i indicated in my testimony, mr. chairman, it's important that the faith-based nonprofit community be designated as a critical infrastructure, as have 16 other sectors of our community of the nation's economy and communal infrastructure. so as to require the department of homeland security and the other federal law enforcement agencies to create a comprehensive approach to working with the faith-based and nonprofit communities, as you well know. in our society, american society is structured, the partnership between governments and the nonprofit and faith-based sectors in the delivery of essential human services, as well as education and communal activities through all kinds is an essential partnership.
and recognizing that critical infrastructure, as just evidenced in the pandemic, a partnership between the federal government and nonpar fit -- and nonprofits and faith-based communities were essential to carrying our communities through the covid-19 pandemic. and it will be so as well as we tackle the domestic extremism issues. in addition, i would repeat the comment i made about increasing access to dhs and cybersecurity and infrastructure security agencies, security advisors and cybersecurity advisors, to assist nonprofits in navigating grant opportunities. the secure committee group -- secure community group would be our representative in that effort. chair peters: thank you for the
detailed answered. the ranking member is no recognized for questions. senator: thank you, mr. chapman and thank you you to the witnesses. mr. yang, i liked what you said, that we need more fact, information and data. that is absolutely true. we have our data today from some of our witnesses that is very concerning. mr. jones, can you discuss data you have compiled? you said there are more attacks on military and police, i think you said law enforcement, then any other group. can you tell us whether that is historically true or just in 2020? i thought you had interesting data about other attacks, saying threats and attacks are the worst since 1994. but with regard to the information you provided today, which is new to me, that the
highest number of attacks have been on law enforcement, is that historically or just a recent development? mr. jones: excellent question. in response to question about the targeting of government military and police, it is primarily a recent phenomenon. government, military and police have been targeted historically in the u.s. at various points. we saw that in the mid-1990's, timothy mcveigh's targeting of the murrah building in oklahoma city. so that is a recent phenomenon. and again as i mentioned, we are , seeing perpetrators from all sides of the political spectrum, and artists, anti-fascists and others as well. senator: thank you.
i appreciate that and the concise answer because there's lots of information i want to get out. mr. goldenberg, you talked about your work and the factors contributing to the persistent threat of domestic terrorism and violent extremism. can you talk about what you see as the common threads of domestic radicalization and you've obviously got experience both at the state level and the federal level to the department of homeland security. just give us a sense of the common thread you have seen. mr. goldenberg: the tactics being used by radicals from white supremacists to those that claim they are going to attack it in the name of jihad, eco-terrorism, the tactics are very similar. about four or five years ago i had the opportunity to cochair the foreign fighter task force. we spent a lot of time studying the methodologies that isis was using to bring young men and women from different parts of
the world, who absolutely had very little in common, had very little knowledge, many of which weren't even that hooked into any particular religion making , their ways across oceans to join a fight and a war in the deserts of some unknown place. and we got very caught up in the cause and we didn't study enough , as to the effect. why are these young, disaffected, disenchanted folks joining these fights, joining these movements? why are they being radicalized so quickly? social media, it was all done, 95% of it. i may not be exact of the radicalization, but it --
i may not be exact, but the radicalization was done through very effective, very savvy social media marketing campaigns. senator: we talked about the investigation we did hear which was a bipartisan look at why. so much of it came down to the digital side both in terms of organization and trading this motivation with white supremacists, i think the same is true from everything we know. and then on the actual attacks themselves, the flash and banging effect we talked about earlier. getting into the digital issues is really important. these platforms have created a bigger problem clearly. is that your understanding? mr. goldenberg: i have to state something for the record. i was very engaged and involved in whitefish, montana which many people might not be aware of. it's a very pristine beautiful place on the side of the mountain where 120 members of the jewish community, many of them, i can't speak for all of them, literally four years ago were debating whether to leave their community. they were terrified.
they were petrified because they were being attacked and trolled and threatened online from some very dangerous people. some of these websites that were calling for attacks on this small jewish community. in fact, the common denominator of these websites is the fact that members of those sites were involved in over 100 to 120 murders around the world, including brevig and several other major incidents here. why am i bringing up whitefish? because as horrific and horrible as these threats were perceived, people were terrified it was in , my mind domestic terrorism incident and it was very , difficult to get any agency to even investigate it. and i'm not criticizing the federal agencies or the local law enforcement agencies. they couldn't investigate it because they didn't have the probable cause to go ahead and open up an investigation even
, though we had members of a community ready to leave their houses in terror. and we couldn't even get a criminal investigation initiated because we didn't have the laws or the mandates to work on it. senator: those are important points. and i think that leads to some of the frustration out there, that you have these threats that are real, and yet there doesn't seem to be an easy way for law enforcement to respond. mr. henderson we talked about , the nonprofit grant program earlier. i would like you and mr. yang to talk about that. this is an effort to provide community safety, community security. when we have gathered people in ohio it's the christian , community, the sikh and muslim community, the jewish community , of course, but as someone who represents a broad coalition of these communities, how would you assess this program? and how can we get more people to apply and be able to take advantage of it?
mr. henderson: mr. portman, thank you for your question. it is an important issue and certainly the leadership conference does represent nonprofit organizations that are committed to protecting civil and human rights. the engagement of these communities in addressing the problems that we have with domestic terrorism are critically important. but as i mentioned in my testimony, we have over 50 statutes on our federal books that can be used to prosecute individuals who are engaged in these activities. i alluded to the fact that those who are charged today with some of the violence directly related to the january 6 insurrection are being prosecuted based on these provisions. i think certainly educating nonprofit groups about the circumstances involved with domestic violence, encouraging the fbi and the department of homeland security to help educate these communities as well on how to apply for these grants, how to use them
appropriately would be a very , constructive contribution would help these communities better understand how they can be a part of the solution to the problem. but i think the biggest issue that we have before us is how do we encourage the federal government and the appropriate agencies to use the tools at their disposal to prosecute domestic terrorism in an appropriate way. that does include educating individuals or rather communities on the use of these , nonprofit grant programs. i commend you for your support of them and i hope they will be , part of a constructive comprehensive effort to address this problem going forward. senator: mr. henderson, we have to go to our next questioner, but let me say that the stay safe act provides this information of past practices which is really critical. senator hassan is co-author of that legislation. she is going to question next, but i think that's another place
for information that is easily accessible online. and i hope that this hearing, among other things, will give more people an understanding of the importance of that. senator hassan: mr. chairman, -- mr. chairman, i want to thank you for holding the hearing. i want to thank all of our witnesses for being here today and the work that you do. mr. goldenberg and mr. jones, i want to follow-up up on the discussion you've had on the issue of online radicalization. mr. goldenberg, you compared some of the online radicalization techniques of groups like isis to similar efforts used by domestic terrorists online today. just adding to what you were talking about just now, in your view, are there lessons learned from combating isis' online radicalization efforts that can be applied to combating domestic terrorism threats? mr. goldenberg: i think the
primary lessons learned, it is almost -- and i'm sorry i'm going to use this as a comparison because i am a former police officer -- it's when they interview the neighbor next door and the neighbor next door after a horrific crime is committed says, i knew nothing about this. i think it's incumbent on us to really focus on training on , spending time with families and educators and even the law enforcement community to better understand how social media, how this space, as wonderful as it is, i call it the tale of two cities, has become a place where we have groomers and others that are seeking to radicalize your children, if not other adults. the tactics used by isis and al qaeda and other groups that we will call traditional foreign terrorist groups, these same tactics are being used right here in the united states by
those that are asking for some to commit themselves to white supremacist ideology. it's the same tactics being used. the same marketing. senator hassan: so what you are saying is educating the general , public and families about the tactics that their loved ones could be subjected to online. is that fair? mr. goldenberg: absolutely. the old cliche, if you see something, say something. when i first heard it years ago, i come from the new york new jersey area, through 9/11, i rolled my eyes, senator. and now i don't roll my eyes at , that. people if they see something, if , something is not right with the neighbor, friend or child. i'm not talking about people spying on each other. i'm talking about if there are signs and symptoms that say that someone that's close to you or someone that you love is now being potentially radicalized,
and these are the signs and the symbols, you need to step up and say something, and maybe save the next life, including your own. senator hassan: thank you. mr. jones, you mentioned the role of the internet and social media in contributing to the domestic terrorism threat. in your view, what more can the u.s. government do to counter extremism on digital platforms? mr. jones: thanks, senator, for bringing up this issue. two comments along these lines. i should point out at the beginning, to state the obvious that a range of , individuals and organizations involved in domestic terrorism are on multiple types of digital platforms not just the big ones. , however, some of the large platforms like facebook and twitter and youtube, they are capable of reaching larger numbers of individuals.
and i think one of the successful efforts -- because i've worked with a range of these companies -- they surged during the height of the islamic state and al qaeda activity to identify in their platforms individuals that work radicalize them both humans working for , these companies as well as algorithms. they've been slower in the areas we are talking about. they've been slower on white supremacist antigovernment militias, some of the fascists and anarchists. they have been slower to devote the resources, the individual expertise. i think they started to move a little bit faster, but i would say more pressure on these companies. and again i'm not talking about , free speech here, i'm talking about violence. taking down facebook pages that are inciting people to violence. and i think in that sense a , number of european governments are ahead of the u.s. along
these lines. so i think that is one issue. and it is also worth highlighting that a range of these domestic organizations are learning so they now know what , they can get away with and what they can't. so this is a constant process of rejiggering algorithms and educating those that are analyzing digital platforms what , are the word choices they are using to instigate. but i think continual pressure on these companies is critical . and that includes holding hearings with senior officials from those companies so that they are held accountable. senator hassan thank you. : i want to follow-up with you on another issue now. i previously cosponsored legislation to establish a commission that would review the information-sharing process for both international and domestic terrorism. i was pleased to see the first pillar of the biden administration's new, national strategy for countering domestic
terrorism includes a goal to improve information sharing. mr. jones in your view what , specific steps can the federal government take to improve sharing terrorism information with state and local partners, including information regarding domestic terrorism? mr. jones: i think there is an important role -- the national counterterrorism center has increasingly and i think this is , important to recognize that we talk about domestic terrorism , including here, but there is a lot of overlap between domestic and international terrorism. so, i think the national counterterrorism needs to continue at the federal level to also focus on this interplay between domestic and international terrorism. i also think there is an important relationship between the national counterterrorism center and the joint terrorism task forces and the fusion centers, that they can share
information. the fbi oversees the legal attaches, and those that are embedded in the national counterterrorism center. i think there's an important need to continue to push information from the federal level down to the state and local level and ease the little bit these walls between international and domestic. i think nctc has been too conservative in defining terms. senator hassan i'm running out : of time so i'm going to submit , my last two questions for the record. i just wanted to thank senator portman for his partnership on this, and i will be submitting two questions to the record for you about the importance of having a clearinghouse for faith-based organizations and
houses of worship about best practices as well as just trying to get your comments on ways we can continue to work the nonprofit and faith-based community on the nonprofit security grant program, so that they are battle -- they are better able to access these grants. and perhaps we can streamline the application process for them. and thank you so much for your expertise and for sharing it with us this morning. i see that the chair is back, so i'm going to hand the gavel back to him. chair peters: thank you senator. , the chair now recognizes senator rosen for your questions. senator rozen: thank you, chair peters for recognizing me. , and i want to thank you for holding this important hearing. as cochair of the first-ever tax force -- task force for combating anti-semitism, i'm pleased to have this hearing and
i want to welcome my friend from the jewish federation of north america and thank him for being with us today. as others have touched upon, i want to talk about the nonprofit security grant program. over the past two years particularly since the spring, , we have seen a dangerous increase in anti-semitism, indicating the deadliest attack on the jewish community in modern american history. three years ago, of course we , had the tree of life synagogue in pittsburgh. in may 2021 alone, the adl recorded 221 discrimination instances. and that is just what is reported. to protect community centers and other nonprofits, the nonprofit security grant program makes grants available to eligible , nonprofit organizations for target hardening and other security enhancements. so despite the alarming rise in
, anti-semitism, ngsp processed less than half of the applications that it received for grants this year, far outstripping the 180 million dollars appropriated by congress in fiscal year 2021. so i really want to thank you for speaking to the importance of doubling the funding from $180 million to $360 million in your opening statement. it's critical to meeting the growing needs of the program to keep all of our needs secure. i just want to follow-up on many of the discussions we've had so far. rural communities, suburban communities, they often, historically experience resource , gaps. they face challenges in accessing nonprofit security grants to protect himself against anti-semitic domestic terrorist attacks and targeted violence. so mr. fingerhut, how do you think congress can ensure that
these communities receive the sufficient federal support including our outreach efforts , and technical assistance, to better access this important program? we can't hear you. mr. fingerhut: my apologies. iq, senator rosen, and thank you particularly for citing the statistics regarding the percentage of the applications for the nonprofit security grant program that were able to be filled by the existing funding sources. it is under 50%. and i think we have to be honest and say that it's not the -- it's not that the institutions are not aware of the need to take extraordinary measures to secure their facilities. regretfully, i think all faith-based institutions and nonprofit institutions in our country are becoming aware of the threats that they face and
particularly, regrettably i must say, it is true of the jewish community which has experienced , the largest percentage of hate crimes, according to fbi statistics of any , religious-based group. but it's now the knowledge and the skill and the ability to fulfill the technical requirements of the applications. i will mention a couple of quick things that i previously mentioned. and i would be more than happy to follow-up with the committee, with your office, for details per -- for details. first of all, it is time that is part of the nonprofit security grant program that we not only have a sufficient level of funding consistent over time, , but that we also allocate sufficient resources to fema and the state-based institutional partners who administer these grants to assist them in , developing the expertise to working with the nonprofit community. they haven't received resources for them to be in that position of expertise.
and as i've also mentioned and i really can't emphasize enough, i do believe that it's time for the congress to designate the nonprofit and the faith-based sectors as critical infrastructure to this country with respect to domestic violence, which would trigger the development of comprehensive strategic plan by department of homeland security, by federal law enforcement, fbi and others. senator you know better than , anyone as a former synagogue president yourself, how critical our faith-based institutions are to the delivery of communal services in our great country. this is the freest, safest country in the history of the jewish people. but regrettably, in the past 20 years as you said we have , experienced dramatic rises in violence, extremism. and we need to fill in the gaps.
senator rozen thank you. : i would like to talk about the links between domestic terrorism, anti-semitism and anti-aapi hate. the recent rise in anti-semitism correlated with the spread of , domestic extremist ideology, neo-nazis, the organization of this space is driven by ideological trafficking and conspiracies against jewish control of society, the qanon movement is out there, and i welcomed the administrations recent threat assessment on domestic violent extremism. but i'm disappointed that the report did not account for the nexus between anti-semitism and violent extremism. so this question to mr. , goldenberg and mr. yang -- can you describe the connection between domestic violent extremist ideologies and anti-semitism, motivation and recruitment?
and mr. yang, of course, we have this same issues happening right now with aapi conspiracies. we have those same issues -- my time is expiring. i want to hear what you have to say. we need to be a no place for hate society and we have to stand together. i don't know who is after me, mr. chair, but i guess i will take my answers off the record. chair peters: if you would like more time, you can take more time. senator rosen that's great. : i guess you can answer because we are waiting for another senator to come. i guess mr. goldenberg and then mr. yang, please. mr. goldenberg: there is an absolute common denominator between the violent extremists on the right and the violent extremists on the left.
and that, denominator, unfortunately for some of these groups is their apparent hatred , of the jewish people. we have seen online, we have studied some of the rhetoric and the chapter -- and the chatter, and in many cases they may not agree with each other theoretically, politically or any other which way but when it , comes to their hatred of the jewish people, they use the same anti-semitic rhetoric -- the books, the elders. i could mention half a dozen different -- the protocols of zion. they actually share this information with each other. so if they completely disagree , sometimes even violently with , each other on many other issues, at the core it's , anti-semitism that
unfortunately does bring them together. senator rosen: thank you for that disturbing answer. mr. yang, can you talk about the theories and domestic violence we have seen particularly on the , rise during covid? mr. yang: one common denominator we haven't talked about with respect to anti-semitism and anti-asian american hate is the climate of fear. the notion that we are living in fear, we have to blame someone for the fear. fear, with respect to covid-19 as it applies to the asian american community. what we are seeing is misinformation about the origins of covid-19 -- the fact that asian americans eat bats or are unsanitary and that is why , covid-19 is here in the united states. one of the first physical attacks against an asian american in texas was by a
person, a father with very little kids. and he said you guys are the , reason covid-19 is here. so we have to make sure we don't , so those seeds of fear. and that's incumbent on all of us as leaders to use the right words. that's not going to do the trick alone, but to make sure that we are not part of the problem in creating that climate of fear, that somehow we have to fear chinese people or fear asian countries. that's what we have seen also in the jewish-american community. that fear is what drives some of the extremism that we have seen. those are a distinct element i would want to name right now. senator rosen: thank you. i'm going to follow-up for the record because i'm way over my time, i really want to talk about the specific steps we can take to address this linkage between bigotry, anti-semitism,
anti-aapi hate and especially white supremacism. thank you, chair peters i , appreciate it. chair peters: thank you, as always for great questions. , we appreciate those and the answers. mr. young, you have talked quite a bit today about the increased violence against asian americans. and we have had discussions for social media, and how that is really, shall we say furthering , some of these attacks. i would like you to talk specifically about how social media and misinformation related to covid-19 has particularly had a significant impact on your community and what we should be , doing about it. mr. yang: thank you very much for that question. with respect to that
misinformation that has cause , and effect on the asian american community before anything else. even for we had the first case of covid-19 in the united states, asian americans were being discriminated against, especially in their businesses because of this misinformation , about the hygiene of asian american businesses. about the cause of covid-19 and how asian americans might be special carriers of that. then that translated into actual , cases of violence against our community because of what we saw on social media. the number of times we saw that picture of an asian american eating a bad -- that caused so many attacks against our community. before this hearing, i took a quick look at the statistics with respect to anti-asian attacks, from our own website. i recorded, very quickly, over a dozen cases in which while that person was attacking asian
americans, they were talking about asian americans eating bats. that misinformation is part of the issue we need to address. and i do agree it is just digital literacy with respect to people that are consuming that information, as well as content moderation with respect to the platforms that are allowing those pieces to proliferate. but again i would also go to the , source, which is, who is it that is causing or feeding that racism, that extremism? and those are all groups that we need to address head on. chair peters: thank you, mr. goldenberg. you made a number of recommendations regarding how the department should address the rise of violence in faith-based communities. a question for you today is given where we are today, what , do you think is the most important action the department of homeland security must take?
mr. goldenberg: i think it's ownership. the department is vast. we all know several hundred thousand good individuals over there. the initiative really needs to have ownership. someone at a very senior level that could transverse across all the various divisions and departments and offices that really focuses on the issue. i have to agree wholeheartedly with eric fingerhut, who i've known for several years. that -- several real years -- who i've known for several years, that this should be considered a part of critical infrastructure. if our houses of worship are not critical infrastructure, i'm not sure what is. as i said before, it has definitely become an achilles heel. we also, one more thing we need
to be thinking about is the fact -- with first amendment, with threats that are coming through social media, the fact that we have people in vulnerable communities that are deeply concerned about their safety and security and feel terrorized by threats vis-a-vis's -- vis-a-vis social media, when is the law broken? when can investigation be opened up? when does doj or states attorney's office, when can they now open up investigation predicated on a person's concern that their safety is at stake? and that's a great concern right now. take a look at how many cases have been opened up, where someone is threatened over the internet and there is absolutely nowhere to go with it. you don't even know what agency to report it to. so these are the things i think , we need to be very focused on. chair peters: thank you for that. senator also off -- senator ossoff, you are now recognized for your questions.
senator ossoff: thank you to our panelists for your invaluable contributions today. mr. henderson, you noted in your testimony that in 2017 the department of justice found that while just over 7000 hate crimes had been reported, they assess that the real number was likely in the range of the quarter of a million. what legislative action is needed to ensure we have a clear national accounting of hate crimes that's accurate and consistent over time, so that we can track these trends with more accuracy? mr. henderson: senator, thank you for that question. and as you know, there is the hate crimes statistics act which i believe was first enacted in 1991. it requires police departments around the country, law enforcement institutions, to report hate crimes that have been brought to their attention. but the information provided to the federal government is voluntary. the number of police departments that participate in this effort has always been relatively small in comparison to the number of
entities existing in the country. and most of the information provided is incredibly incomplete. but there is no sense of urgency, no sense of obligation on the part of these departments to provide that information. certainly congress could make reporting mandatory and that would help. and certainly providing , departments with the technical skill to document and record hate crime violence reported to those institutions would be a huge help. lastly, obligate education -- trying to educate communities about the existence of this violence, what constitutes a hate crime and how to go about documenting it would be an additional help. so i would argue that , strengthening the hate crimes statistics act is the first and most compelling effort to be taken. but i think there are other -- other collateral efforts, as we
discussed, that could be supportive of that effort as well. senator ossoff: thank you mr. , henderson. would you kindly be willing to work with my office to determine how such legislative remedy might be constructively drafted? mr. henderson we would welcome : that opportunity and appreciate very much the invitation to do so. senator ossoff: mr. yang, i would like to check in with you on a matter of particular concern across the country and to many of my asian american constituents in georgia and that , is these appalling attacks in particular on asian elders across the country which you noted in your testimony. would you provide the committee with an update on the trend of these attacks? mr. yang: thank you very much for the question. unfortunately the trend has , still been relatively high with respect to attacks against
asian americans. one thing i should note is that the attacks against asian american women in particular is appalling. women are being attacked at almost two times the rate of men. this is not an issue just with the asian american community but -- community, but if we are talking about domestic terrorism and extremism, we need to make sure we address violence against women. unfortunately with respect to this hearing, we don't have a female speaker to talk about these issues. but if we dig deeper, that's another issue we should address. the last thing i should note is that we should also continue to think about what can prevent these types of acts from happening, and we talked a lot about a response how we need to , harden some of our nonprofits and churches. i certainly agree with that as a response. but we also need to think about how we connect with her community, invest in our communities so that they feel safer, without the need to use law enforcement as a solution to all these problems. senator ossoff: thank you, mr.
yang. mr. fingerhut, i would like to talk about federal policy. i would just a note on one hand it's a signal of progress that , elected for the first time a black man and a jewish man to represent our state in the u.s. senate. i was sworn in on something that belonged to rabbi jacob rothschild, who had been the rabbi at my childhood synagogue, which was bombed by white supremacists in 1958 in retaliation for rabbi rothschild's alignment with dr. king and support of the civil rights movement. and it is certainly my ambition that we strengthen and sustain the vital and historic alliance between blacks and jews in americ, which was forged with such intensity during the civil-rights movement. i would like to ask you about your assessment of the efficacy of the nonprofit security grant
program, how it can be improved as well as the efficacy of the , dhs protective security advisors and cyber security advisors, which are assisting nonprofits and faith-based groups to protect themselves from both physical and cyber threats. mr. fingerhut: thank you, senator, for the question, and the historic significance of your election and that of senator warnock was certainly well noted within the community as was the dramatic personal , statement you made with regards to your choice of the hebrew bible for your swearing-in. and we commit to you together with the jewish federations located in your home state of georgia, particularly of course our jewish federation to work with you and senator warnock as well as on a national basis as i
as well as on a national basis as you have so beautifully laid out here. as i have addressed in this hearing, it is unfortunately the case that we now have a wide recognition, senator, of the need to have a layer of physical security and all of our faith-based institutions who have nonprofit institutions that we never thought we would have to have. if you travel the world, it is routine that there are security guards and physical security of all kinds at faith-based institutions. and we regret that that reality has now come to our great country. we are in catch-up mode frankly , sir, because there is not only the growing need which the federal government is not yet adequately funding. the funding levels are currently
available, as has already been noted cover roughly 50% of the , applications this year. but even that is only a reflection of the growing capacity of institutions to apply. is nowhere near where we believe all of the faith-based institutions and communities need to be. so, we need long-term, consistent funding we need the , expertise of fema and of our state emergency institutions that partner with fema to get this done. and as you suggested, our cyber advisors, we need to have a much closer working relationship between the protective security advisors and cybersecurity advisors in the department of homeland security security cyber and infrastructure security agency, and the nonprofit community. we believe all of that can come from the designation of the faith-based institutions and nonprofits as critical infrastructure.
senator ossoff: thank you mr. , fingerhut. with the chairman's indulgence, just one more question for mr. goldenberg. you noted in your testimony some of the parallels with europe -- the increase in sectarianism, tribalism that we are seeing in european and north american societies right now. as we all strive to build a society and a world where the dignity and the human rights and the human value of each individual is sacred and protected regardless of our race, our creek, our ethnicity, our faith, it's deeply troubling that we are seeing this increase in the levels of sectarianism and hatred. if you might comment on why do you believe we are seeing these trends in society on both sides of the atlantic? what are the parallels? mr. goldenberg: i think the
parallels -- look, i first started to travel abroad almost nearly 20 years ago at the request of the ofc, the office for security and cooperation for europe. and we started to raise the flags back then. we started to see the these groups that were considered once marginalized becoming mainstream. as a total disconnect although , it's gotten much better in europe with vulnerable communities and the police that are sworn to protect them as well, but again for the record, , that has improved greatly. social media has no borders. these ideologies seem to have no borders. and people are sharing this information across the globe with the click of a finger, where years ago these things , took much longer.
you heard senator portman mention flash to bang. what flash to bang really means is that people are being radicalized. they are sitting in front of computers, they are frustrated potentially with their own governments for whatever reason and they are moving from flash to operationalizing these , targeted acts of violence. i think that social media, the internet has become a place where these ideologies and methodologies for attack are being shared almost on a daily basis. wherever you have, as we all know, a downturn in the economy, people will look to scapegoat. in this case i think covid has , accelerated much of that. for the first time in history, billions of people were home sitting in front of their computers, and depending on information that they weren't sure was factual or not factual.
so, we are in a very, very fragile place right now and what we have seen 10, 15, 20 years ago in europe, has come to fruition here in the united states. senator ossoff: thank you mr. , goldenberg. i yield back. thanks for the extra time. chair peters: senator hawley, you are recognized for your question. senator hawley: thank you for being patient for the witnesses. there are multiple hearings going on at one time so i've been running back and forth and i appreciate the chairman accommodating me so i can ask questions. thank you for the witnesses who are here remotely as well. i want to start with questions about the anti-semitic violence we have seen, unfortunately in this country, and seen a significant uptick of it over a period of years. this may, in the conflict
between israel and palestinians we saw violence abroad that , spilled over here domestically. jews across the united states were physically attacked in at least 193 instances of violence during the first week of that conflict, which is remarkable. for example pro-palestinian , protesters threatened, shoved, punched and threw fireworks in the diamond district of midtown manhattan, which is an area with many jewish-owned businesses. that led to 27 arrests and the hospitalizations of multiple people. in los angeles pro-palestinian , protesters attacked a group of jewish men who were eating at a restaurant. while they attacked them they , waved palestinian flags and hurled anti-semitic slurs. we have seen member of congress is using anti-semitic rhetoric. one member said israel was an apart tied state, said it was committing war crimes. another said israel's ethnic cleansing continue. another congressman called
israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu an ethnonationalist, a fascist basically. you have discussed in your testimony some of the despicable attacks that have occurred against the jewish community over the past few years. can i ask what role you think the recent conflict between israel and hamas might play in exacerbating these violent attacks and this violent rhetoric and that we are seeing in unfortunately too many places? >> thank you, senator hawley.
i not sure i want to use the am word thank you, but i appreciate the fact that you did recite some of the additional violent incidents we've seen in this country in recent months. that i did not mention in my initial testimony. i think there is no question that we have indeed witnessed a rise in violent extremism against the jewish community in the last couple months. that coincided with the recent operation guardians of the walls, the war in israel. i have no doubt that that is also being reflected not only in the actual, physical attacks, but in the threats that are being recorded by law enforcement and the threats that are being tracked by organizations like adl and others. i know mr. goldenberg spoke earlier, my friend and colleague, of the online threats and anti-semitism which seemed
to unite radical extremists left and right seem to be unified in their hatred of jews and embrace of classical anti-semitic tropes. we have seen that grow, and an increasing attack on all of the jewish community as a result of what has occurred the last couple months. i do want to emphasize however, senator, that while i do think there is no question that there has been a dramatic increase in these last couple months, that unfortunately it reflects a continuation of an increase that we have seen continuously over a number of years that, as i indicated earlier, i believe since the passage of the hate crime statistics act which mr. henderson spoke so knowledgeably of earlier in his responses to
the panel's questions, that for 23 straight years of the gathering of the statistics under the hate crimes statistics act by the fbi, the jewish community was the religious organization singled out for the largest number of those recorded statistical threats and attacks. so, this is indeed something that has been a rising threat. as i indicated also in my prepared remarks, we now have over 45 jewish community federations that have felt the need to build professionalized community security initiatives to work with and mobilize each and every one of our synagogues and jewish community centers and human services agencies. and we are in the midst of a national campaign to extend that umbrella everywhere. we are continuing to build the resources of our secure
community network to work with dhs and fbi. the increase of security is built unfortunately on top of a very significant rise in recent years. senator hawley: you are saying that this is a trend and it is a trend of many years in the making and recent events have , accelerated it. and it's unbelievably sad that the security measures you just described that so many synagogues and other jewish and neighborhood communities are taking. it's unbelievably sad that these measures are necessary, and it's unbelievably wrong that they are necessary in this country. i want to ask you just to come back to the events of this last may, this last spring. do you think the current administration offered enough support for the jewish community during the recent conflict? i need american jews, the jewish community in the united states. and is there anything else in a proactive since you would like to see the administration or congress do?
here is where i am going, it simply can't be that every time there is a conflict involving the state of israel that it , therefore becomes ok to attack american jews, and engage in anti-semitic conduct publicly. this can't be the case because we are dealing with a long-term rise in anti-semitic conduct. and the idea that, we will just say it's anti-israel and therefore it's ok, we cannot possibly condone that as a way to excuse further violence, further rhetoric. so what more can congress and the administration do? >> i could not agree with you more. it cannot possibly be ok and it is not ok that every time there is conflict between israel and its neighbors, that it results in a rise of and is the attacks -- resulting in a rise of anti-semitic attacks in this country.
-- that it results in a rise of anti-semitic attacked in this country. it is unacceptable and i agree with you completely. you asked about the response of the biden administration. i will say that they did speak out forcefully with regard to the increase in anti-semitism that came about during this most recent conflict. i want to thank mr. henderson, mr. yang and all the other civil rights organizations that joined in a forceful letter, a statement to president biden. i believe 180 organizations spoke out to the president, the biden administration, and the president personally responded within 24 hours to that letter. i also want to acknowledge the recent nomination of the special envoy. we hope the senate will take up expeditiously. i want to acknowledge as well that with mr. yang, we were proud to support together with the asian american pacific islander community and leadership conference, the no
hate act which will enhance the statistics. as your second question with regard to what more congress can do, i believe we have covered it to some extent, i know that it's important to repeat because of the nature of this hearing that we are nowhere near funding levels necessary for the nonprofit security grant program. we need to enhance the ability of fema and the state agencies to work with faith-based institutions of all kinds, to help them harden their facilities. and we need to provide the comprehensive designation necessary, so that we attack this problem comprehensively. senator you have spoken
, beautifully on many occasions, the important critical role that the faith-based nonprofit sector plays in american society. we are involved in delivering human services and providing the emotional and educational well-being of our community during the recent covid pandemic. we partnered effectively with this congress repeatedly on various funding and other strategic measures to make sure the resources got to the nonprofit at faith-based communities to secure their ability to serve their communities during this terrible time. and now, we need to do the same thing in a much more comprehensive way on the issue of domestic terrorism. senator hawley: thank you very much for that testimony. thank you, mr. chairman for your , generosity. i just want to say in conclusion that i think it's vital that we are clear that anti-semitism in
any guise, whether it's from the right or whether it's from the left, whatever it's excuse is is wrong. and as a person of faith, i just want to say that it is wrong. it is morally wrong and there can be no excuse for it whether it's wrapped up in a policy excuse or something else. we've got to be absolutely crystal clear about that. chair peters: thank you, senator. and i would like to thank everyone for participating in today's hearing. i would certainly like to say a special thanks to our witnesses for joining us today and providing their unique perspective and expertise on what is clearly a very complex issue. our witnesses today have provided us with insight into the current domestic terrorism threat that we face. we have heard compelling details about the real-world impact that domestic terrorism and violent extremism have on our communities, and how related hateful rhetoric and misinformation are readily amplified by social media platforms. importantly we have also been
, reminded that although these threats are clearly not new, for many communities of color and religious groups they are growing at an agonizing presence in their daily lives. that is simply unacceptable. we cannot ignore the growing threat and climate of intimidation and the many horrific acts of violence we have seen in recent years. too many families and communities have been shattered by extremist attacks. and the federal government must urgently focus its efforts to combat the domestic terrorism threat and prevent future tragedies. on thursday, i will convene a second hearing with additional experts including former administration officials to , examine what reforms are needed to ensure the government's resources and personnel are adequately aligned to address this deadly threat. in testimony before congress, several of our national security officials have called domestic terrorism, and in particular
white supremacist violence, the greatest threat to our homeland security. i will work along with my colleagues to make sure these words are followed by concrete actions to accurately tackle this threat with the seriousness that it warrants. as part of that effort we will , hold additional hearings in the fall as well, which will include current government officials to discuss their work to address domestic terrorism. i will note that the record for this hearing will remain open until 5:00 p.m. on august 18, 2021, for the submission of statements and questions for the record. with that, this committee hearing is now adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [gavel striking block]
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