Rep. Himes Says ‘The Threat is Real’
WASHINGTON — A congressional panel wants to cut off funding for the kind of White supremacists who raided the U.S. Capitol building Jan. 6.
They described the attack as the first of many against government targets unless they act promptly to stop them.
“This threat is real,” said Rep. Jim A. Himes, D-Conn., chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on national security, international development and monetary policy.
He said he wants to block funding to domestic terrorists but only within the limits of constitutional authority.
He mentioned the example of Timothy McVeigh, a home-grown terrorist who packed explosives made with fertilizer into a rented truck to commit the worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history. The 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City killed 168 people.
“The bomb constructed by Timothy Mcveigh cost less than $5,000,” Himes said.
Similarly, money raised or laundered through non-profit organizations, cryptocurrency and crowdfunding could be used for low-budget terrorism by extremist groups like the Proud Boys and QAnon, Himes said.
“To effectively disrupt domestic terrorist groups, we need to better understand their financing,” he said.
The latest threat was revealed Friday by U.S. Capitol Police, who said some members of these groups may have been plotting to blow up the Capitol building during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. The date has not yet been announced but it normally is scheduled for the first week of February.
The chief of staff for the Southern Poverty Law Center told lawmakers that although the number of extremist hate groups has declined in recent years, their ability to organize has been strengthened by the internet’s social media.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a Montgomery, Ala.-based nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation. Lecia Brooks, its chief of staff, said the organization has tracked hate groups in an annual census since 1990.
“The proliferation of numerous Internet platforms has allowed individuals to engage with potentially violent movements – like QAnon and Boogaloo – without being card-carrying members of a particular group,” Brooks said.
“In the past, hate groups raised money by charging dues, selling products or requiring the purchase of uniforms,” she said.
Now they earn money when users pay fees to watch live-streaming events hosted by hate groups, Brooks said. They also use crowdfunding from sympathizers to pay their travel expenses and legal fees.
She suggested more targeted efforts by internet companies to prevent extremists from exploiting their sites for violence. She also said Congress should more aggressively collect data on the groups.
“Tech companies must create and enforce terms of service to ensure that they do not become platforms for hate,” Brooks said.
The subcommittee on national security, international development and monetary policy warned of threats that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency could be used for domestic terrorism.
The FBI still is investigating how extremists during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol were funded.
“Nonetheless, since it is increasingly common to find cryptocurrency wallet addresses listed on extremist websites, this is a potential and growing source of funds for domestic extremists,” the subcommittee’s pre-hearing memo posted on its website says.
Domestic terrorism experts told lawmakers that crowdfunding by non-profit organizations tied to domestic terrorists makes their financing hard to trace.
Crowdfunding refers to financing projects or ventures by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically through the internet to fund non-profits.
Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, cautioned that the fervor to punish extremist groups could overstep constitutional limits by trampling the privacy of American citizens.
“We’ve further eroded the Fourth Amendment under the guise of national security,” Davidson said.
“At what point do we draw the line,” he asked. “Where’s that limit, because it sounds like there might not be one.”
In The News
Notice: Undefined variable: pc_ID in /var/www/html/thewellnews/wp-content/themes/twentynineteen-child/template-parts/content/content-single.php on line 269
Notice: Undefined variable: primary_cat in /var/www/html/thewellnews/wp-content/themes/twentynineteen-child/template-parts/content/content-single.php on line 274
WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told a Select Committee on Thursday that it's high time Congress was brought into alignment with the best practices of the private sector when it comes to employee recruitment and retention. Appearing before the House Select Committee on the... Read More
The U.S. may be facing or even in the midst of a cybersecurity “cold war,” said Dr. Mark Hagerott, chancellor of North Dakota University System, at a West Governors’ Association event entitled, “Solving the Cyber Workforce and Skills Shortage.” On the heels of the White House... Read More
Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs organization. The Gerrymandering Threat Index rates all 50 states, and its authors argue their findings underscore the urgent need to pass the redistricting reforms within the... Read More
RICHMOND -- The Commonwealth of Virginia is expanding eligibility to get a COVID-19 vaccine to anyone 16 or older, beginning Sunday. The expansion of eligibility comes as Virginia reaches a new milestone in its vaccination program— approximately half of all adults in the Commonwealth have received... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Treasury Department has released updated guidance on its pre-award requirements for state and local governments to receive direct coronavirus relief payments under the American Rescue Plan Act. It particular the guidance outlines the “immediate” steps municipalities need to take to get in line... Read More
WASHINGTON -- As the U.S. death toll reached 564,000 from COVID-19, the nation’s top disease experts said Thursday normal life will return for Americans only when enough of them get vaccinated. But with more than 70,000 new infections daily, they could not predict for Congress when... Read More