Attorney General Eric Holder announced Tuesday that the Justice Department will revive a task force dedicated to preventing acts of domestic terrorism.
In a weekly video, Holder announced the reconstitution of the panel, which will include national security lawyers from the Justice Department and representatives from the FBI, among other agencies.
Holder citied an “escalating danger from self-radicalized individuals within our own borders” as the reason to bring back the force that was established after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 to share information about domestic threats.
“Horrific terror incidents like the tragic shootings at Fort Hood and last year’s Boston Marathon bombing demonstrate the danger we face from these homegrown threats,” Holder said.
The group was set to meet the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, but it never did — and after the attacks that morning the group was disbanded as attention turned to international terrorism, according to NBC News.
Participants in the revived group will be asked to share information in hopes of disrupting violence within America’s borders motivated by extremist ideologies, like the April shooting outside a Jewish Community Center in Kansas or the the attack at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that killed six people in 2012 and a bomb designed to detonate at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Wash.
“The threat from al-Qaida is much more diffuse after Sept. 11, and the threats posed by a single horribly misguided citizen or permanent legal resident in the U.S. is in a sense as great as what core al-Qaida posed before Sept. 11,” Neil MacBride, a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said.
“But now, as the nature of the threat we face evolves to including the possibility of individual radicalization via the Internet, it is critical that we return our focus to potential extremists here at home,” Holder said in the video broadcast.
The Attorney General did not list specific terror threats that may have instigated the renewal of the task force, but he said that the deadly shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, and the Boston Marathon bombings demonstrate the lingering threat of backyard or homegrown terror plots.
Holder said “plans by ‘lone wolf’-style actors” seeking to support Syrian or other transnational terror groups abroad have been diffused by the FBI in recent years, but the bureau was starkly criticized for its decision not to share information with local law enforcement agencies about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the brothers authorities say were behind the bombings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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