Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Jackie Speier (CA-14), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and Anthony Brown (MD-04)  led 27 colleagues in a letter to Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on the Judiciary calling for the creation of an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the federal government’s failure to appropriately respond to and prevent domestic terrorism and violent extremism.

“On January 6, 2021, as Congress gathered to uphold our duty under the Constitution to certify our free and fair election, the seat of government dissolved into anarchy as rioters, many of them armed, breached Capitol security and made their way through the Capitol building, leaving destruction in their wake. Make no mistake: this was an act of domestic terrorism years in the making,” the Members wrote. “The alarm bells have been ringing for over a decade,” they continued, “yet the events of January 6, 2021, revealed that this country is wholly unprepared to handle the risks posed by domestic terrorism. That is why we are calling for the creation of an independent, bipartisan commission, modeled after the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission), to investigate the federal government’s failure to appropriately respond to and prevent domestic terrorism and violent extremism.”

The Members have requested the independent commission investigate numerous issues, including:

  • What are the main trends in domestic terrorism in the past 10 years in such areas as terrorist motivation, recruitment, organization, tactics, and targets?
  • How have domestic terrorist attacks—planned or completed—in 2020 and 2021 compared to previous years?
  • How have federal law enforcement agencies grown and adapted to handle threats posed by domestic terrorism and violent extremism?
  • Given federal law enforcement agencies’ significant findings about white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement, what mechanisms are in place to monitor whether federal law enforcement officers have alliances with violent extremist groups and how can their effectiveness be improved?
  • What approaches do the military services use to detect and address violent extremism among military servicemembers, how effective are these approaches, and how should they be improved?
  • How do extremists use social media platforms to promulgate conspiracy theories, radicalize and recruit users, and plan and incite violence?
  • What role do social media companies play in radicalizing individuals and promulgating domestic terrorism?
  • How do federal law enforcement agencies coordinate with one another and state and local law enforcement agencies to respond to and prevent domestic terrorism and violent extremism? How is intelligence analysis related to domestic terrorism and violent extremist groups shared among federal, state, local, and tribal governments, and does the federal government need to establish stronger mechanisms to share intelligence with all relevant agencies, the private sector, and the public?
  • Are current federal criminal statutes sufficient to address domestic terrorism and hold violent extremists accountable? If not, how should these statutes be updated?
  • What actions can Congress take to better protect the United States against threats of domestic terrorism while protecting civil rights and equal justice under law?

A copy of the letter is attached to this press release.