House Homeland Security chairman introduces bill calling for annual domestic terror reports

House Homeland Security chairman introduces bill calling for annual domestic terror reports
© Stefani Reynolds

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonDemocrats make U-turn on calling border a 'manufactured crisis' Hillicon Valley: Facebook unveils new cryptocurrency | Waters wants company to halt plans | Democrats look to force votes on election security | Advertisers partner with tech giants on 'digital safety' | House GOP unveils cyber agenda Top Democrats question legal basis for appointing Cuccinelli as temporary immigration chief MORE (D-Miss.) on Wednesday introduced a bill that would require federal agencies to annually produce an unclassified report on incidents of domestic terrorism. 

Under the legislation, the FBI, Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), would be required to produce a joint report of data on domestic terrorist incidents and numbers relating to domestic terrorism investigations, indictments, prosecutions and convictions, among other information. 

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The Government Accountability Office would also audit the annual report.

A DHS university-based research center to study domestic terrorism and create a database to study U.S. domestic terrorism would also be established.  

The bill, dubbed the Domestic Terrorism Documentation and Analysis of Threats in America Act, or the Domestic Terrorism DATA Act, has been endorsed by groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the Arab American Institute, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, according to a statement from Thompson's office. 

"Domestic terrorism, fueled largely by a surge in white supremacist extremism, presents a growing threat to the security of our homeland," Thompson said in the statement.  "In 2018, the lives of 50 Americans were taken as a result of domestic extremist-related killings — all connected to right-wing extremism, and mostly tied to white supremacism."

“There’s an urgent need for robust, centralized, and transparent Federal data to inform counterterrorism policymaking – and Americans deserve to know exactly how their government is allocating resources to understanding and confronting the scourge of domestic terrorism," he added. "At this critical time, Congress needs to lead on the issue of domestic terrorism and direct Federal agencies to prioritize efforts to counter these homeland security threats.”