A professor of political science has claimed that President Joe Biden‘s new plan to counter domestic terrorism could be used to silence administration critics.
Nicholas Giordano, a professor at Suffolk Community College on Long Island, raised his concerns about the new National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism in an interview with Fox News on Friday.
Earlier this week, Attorney General Merrick Garland unveiled the new 32-page strategy document, which came in response to an order issued by Biden on his first full day in office, calling domestic terrorism ‘the most urgent terrorism threat the United States faces today.’
In a statement attached to the document, Biden insisted that that the new strategy is ‘narrowly tailored to focus specifically on addressing violence’ while preserving free speech.
But nevertheless Giordano raised his concerns about the wording of the strategy, calling it ‘overly broad and dangerous’ and ‘ripe for abuse and targeting any political opposition.’
A professor of political science has claimed that President Joe Biden’s new plan to counter domestic terrorism could be used to silence administration critics
Nicholas Giordano, a professor at Suffolk Community College on Long Island, raised his concerns in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson
‘This is actually one of the most concerning documents I have ever read, authored by government officials,’ Giordano told Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Giordano noted that the document lists racism and anti-government extremism as the key factors motivating domestic terrorism, but argued that the document poorly defines the terms.
‘They never really define racism except for white supremacy, of course, and superiority of white race,’ he said.
‘These are the same people that believe racism is inherent, you are born with it. If racism is inherent are we born domestic terrorists?’ Giordano argued, referring to the belief among some on the left that all white people are racist.
The strategy document calls for ‘prioritizing efforts to ensure that every component of the government has a role to play in rooting out racism and advancing equity for under–served communities.’
Giordano raised a second concern that the label ‘anti-government extremism’ could be applied to anyone who disagrees with government policy.
‘If you call for small, limited government and you criticize the government in any way, are you going to be deemed as someone with anti-government sentiments?’ he asked.
‘If you look at the coronavirus and question the mandates that came out as unconstitutional, well, you are classified as anti-authority,’ he said.
‘So we have these big terms that are being used and it really could encompass anything,’ argued Giordano. ‘If you put out a tweet talking about election fraud, are you going to be labeled a domestic terrorist?’
Attorney General Merrick Garland announces the new domestic terror strategy at the Justice Department in Washington on Tuesday
Anti-lockdown protesters are seen in California in May. Giordano expressed fears that such protests could be labeled ‘anti-government extremism’
In releasing the new strategy, Garland insisted that it would not be used to target those of a particular political ideology.
‘We are focused on violence, not on ideology,’ Garland said. ‘In America, espousing a hateful ideology is not unlawful. We do not investigate individuals for their First Amendment protected activities.’
The new approach comes after the administration conducted a sweeping assessment of domestic terrorism that labeled white supremacists and anti-government militia groups as top national security threats.
The issue took on new urgency for the Biden administration after the January 6 assault on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, who were trying to overturn Biden’s election victory.
The new domestic terrorism strategy is not merely a philosophy, but signals a vast shift in federal funding and resources toward monitoring potential domestic terror threats and sharing intelligence across agencies.
Biden’s proposed 2022 budget includes an additional $100 million devoted to funding analysts, investigators, and prosecutors focused on preventing and responding to domestic terrorism.
And Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that domestic extremism has been designated as a ‘National Priority Area’ within DHS’s Homeland Security Grants, which will provide more than $77 million to state and local officials to target domestic terrorism.
The issue took on new urgency for the Biden administration after the January 6 assault on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump
Critics of the new strategy, many of them conservative, have issued complaints that sound similar to criticism from the left in response to The Patriot Act, a sweeping bill targeting foreign terrorism in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
‘The Domestic War on Terror rollout reads almost exactly like the original. Same calls for budget increases and expanded powers, same theme of organized transnational threats all around us, same surveillance state endgame,’ tweeted journalist Matt Taibbi.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, another longtime critic of the Patriot Act, shared his concerns that any criticism of the new domestic terror strategy would be shut down through personal attacks and insults.
‘Concerns about civil liberties assaults & state overreach of the first War on Terror meant you were an apologist for Islamic radicalism,’ he tweeted.
‘Concerns over the new Domestic War on Terror make you a white nationalist sympathizer,’ Greenwald added
However, some critics on the left expressed their concerns that the new domestic terrorism strategy does not go far enough.
Writing for MSNBC, columnist Frank Figliuzzi shared his frustration that the new document does not specifically call for new laws punishing acts and plots of domestic terrorism.
‘This strategy does nothing to give investigators and prosecutors what they really need,’ he wrote. ‘The domestic terror threat is serious. Now we just need a strategy that’s just as serious: one that makes domestic terrorism a crime.’