Ahead of Hearing, Chairman Raskin Requests Information on DHS’ Risk Evaluation of Militia Violent Extremists Prior to January 6 Attack
Washington, D.C. (May 26, 2021)—Today, Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, sent a letter to Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), requesting information about how DHS evaluated the dangers associated with militia violent extremists (MVEs) prior to militia groups’ involvement in the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and what information DHS shared with the public ahead of the attack. The letter comes ahead of today’s Subcommittee hearing examining the role of militia groups in the current rise of violent right-wing extremism.
“The American people deserve a complete, transparent analysis of whether DHS failed to assess appropriately the security threat posed by MVEs,” Chairman Raskin wrote. “Given the dangerous evolution of the militia movement into a core component of right-wing violent extremism, the federal government must learn from past mistakes and improve its analytical and reporting functions so it can clearly communicate to the public the nature of this urgent problem.”
Last year, armed militia members stormed state capitols across the nation in opposition to public health measures related to the coronavirus pandemic and mobilized in opposition to last summer’s racial justice protests. Far-right militias ultimately organized their members to converge on Washington, D.C., in an attempt to prevent Congress’ certification of the votes of the Electoral College on January 6, 2021.
DHS issued its October 2020 Homeland Threat Assessment just two days before federal agents announced arrests in an attempted militia plot to kidnap and possibly assassinate Governor Whitmer. It did not make any references to militias or MVEs. In addition, the Department reportedly did not issue a threat assessment ahead of January 6, despite clear signals from militia groups that they planned to attack the Capitol.
The Subcommittee requested documents and information about the threat of militia groups and MVEs by June 15, 2021.
In addition to today’s letter, Chairman Raskin released statements for the record for today’s hearing from the Attorneys General of Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, and Virginia, which call for increased federal attention to the threat of militia extremism.
- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel argued that the federal government must support states on the frontlines of this crisis by “establishing domestic terrorism task forces, providing training to state law enforcement to identify and train subject matter experts, and building liaisons within state law enforcement agencies.”
- Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum stressed that because militia organizing often crosses state lines, “Federal leadership, federal resources, and strong state-federal partnerships all will be necessary as we move to protect our republic from extremist organizations.”
- Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring requested the federal government “treat states as a full partner, sharing information, breaking down information silos, and ensuring that we counter criminal activity before it erupts into large-scale violence.”
- New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal called on the federal government to adopt “commonsense firearms safety laws” to help “significantly reduce the number of firearms that make it into the hands of individuals who seek to use them for unlawful purposes, including those related to militia extremism.”
Attorney General Grewal will testify at today’s Subcommittee hearing.
Click here to watch today’s remote hearing beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Click here to read the letter.