Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Held Hearing on the Federal Response to Confronting Violent White Supremacy

Jun 6, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Jun. 5, 2019)—This week, the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing on  “Confronting Violent White Supremacy (Part II): Adequacy of the Federal Response.”

 

TAKEAWAYS

 

  • There was widespread consensus among Members and all the witnesses at both of the Subcommittee’s hearings on violent white supremacy that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Hate Crimes Statistics do not adequately capture the incidence of hate in the United States.  Brette Steele, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official, and Todd Bensman, a former Texas counterterrorism official, echoed calls from the prior hearing to require state and local law enforcement to report hate crimes to the FBI.  In 2017, only a small fraction of localities participated in the hate crimes reporting, and of them, only 12% reported any hate crimes.

 

  • Michael McGarrity, the Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, acknowledged that domestic terrorists posed a greater threat in the U.S. than  international terrorists in recent years.  But the Subcommittee members pointed out that less than one in five of the FBI’s open terrorism cases is focused on domestic terrorism.  

 

  • DHS acknowledged it currently lacks an effective strategy to prevent domestic terrorism.  Elizabeth Neumann, the Assistant Secretary of Threat Prevention and Security Policy at DHS, testified: “We know we’re not doing enough.”  She also confirmed the Trump Administration did not seek to renew $10 million in grant funding to prevent terrorism and cut the budget of the DHS terrorism prevention office to $3 million, down from $21 million under the Obama Administration.  She committed to improving DHS’s strategic approach.

 

  • Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center highlighted how white supremacist’s fears of shifting demographics are driving a surge of hate and violence, which is “underestimated in law enforcement and unnamed in the media.”

 

WITNESSES

 

Panel 1

 

Michael McGarrity

Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Division

Federal Bureau of Investigation

 

Calvin Shivers

Deputy Assistant Director, Criminal Investigative Division

Federal Bureau of Investigation

 

Elizabeth Neumann

Assistant Secretary, Threat Prevention and Security Policy

U.S. Department of Homeland Security  

 

Panel 2

 

Tony McAleer

Co-Founder

Life After Hate

 

Lecia Brooks

Outreach Director

Southern Poverty Law Center

 

Brette Steele

Director of Prevention and National Security

McCain Institute for International Leadership

Arizona State University

 

Todd Bensman

Former Manager, Counterterrorism Unit

Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division

Texas Department of Public Safety

 

VIDEOS

Watch Chairman Raskin’s opening statement.

 

Watch Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s question line.

 

Watch Rep. Tlaib’s question line.

 

Watch Rep. Malinowski’s question line.

116th Congress