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Commissioners, join me for critical briefing on domestic terrorism and violent extremism

| 29 Mar 2021 | 05:36

Editor’s note: The following letter dated March 22 was sent to the Sussex County Board of Commissioners.

Dear Commissioners:

Given the sharp rise in domestic terror and violent extremism both here in New Jersey and nationwide, I would like to invite the Sussex County Board of Commissioners to join me and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) for a briefing on the latest domestic terror threats in our State.

This past year, for the first time ever, the NJOHSP raised the threat level posed by white supremacists to “high,” joining homegrown, ISIS-inspired terrorists as the most persistent hostile actors in New Jersey. As a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, I receive regular briefings on the ongoing security threat that domestic terrorists pose to our country, including the recent National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin warning of the heightened threat of Domestic Violent Extremists. As FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before Congress earlier this month, “The top threat we face from Domestic Violent Extremists continues to be those we identify as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs), specifically those who advocate for the superiority of the white race, and who were the primary source of ideologically motivated lethal incidents of violence in 2018 and 2019.”

It is imperative that we form a united front and send a clear message that all forms of hatred, extremism, and violence promoted by any organization — including whether that is ISIS inspired terrorists, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, or by individuals inspired by antifa ideology — will not be tolerated here in New Jersey or in the United States. As I am sure you are aware, some of these same groups — including Proud Boys, Oathkeepers, and Three Percenters — are currently active in Northern New Jersey, including in Sussex County, and reports from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies indicate these groups were involved in the lawless attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Extremists present a clear and present danger to New Jersey families. It is my hope that you will join me for this critical briefing on domestic terrorism and violent extremism, in all of its forms, to help prevent future incidents of hate from occurring in our community. I believe that we can all agree that providing law enforcement and the intelligence community with all the tools necessary to prosecute, financially counter, and defeat these groups is of the utmost importance to keep our shared constituents safe.

I will follow up with specific details on the briefing with NJOHSP and look forward to working together to stop hate, domestic terror, and extremism in all forms. In the meantime, please contact me directly at Josh.Gottheimer@mail.house.gov with any questions. Thank you for your service.

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ 5th District)