U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement Tuesday announcing the reestablishment of the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee within the Department of Justice:
“As President Obama has said, after years of strong and effective anti-terror efforts post-9/11, the United States has significantly reduced the threats we face from core al Qaeda. However, the threat posed by Islamic extremist satellite groups – from al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen, to al-Shabaab in Somalia – and individuals inspired by their violent ideology remains a significant concern. We must remain vigilant against this threat both here and around the world.
“But we also must concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice. To that end, I am announcing today that the Department of Justice is reconstituting a committee on domestic terrorism that was first established nearly 20 years ago under my predecessor, Attorney General Janet Reno, in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. In the wake of that incident, the committee met regularly to assess and share information about such ongoing domestic terror threats.
“In fact, that panel was set to meet on the morning of September 11, 2001. Needless to say, that meeting never took place, and following the attacks on that day, America’s focus largely and appropriately turned towards confronting al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and threats from other international terrorist groups. Our efforts to also combat potential acts of domestic terrorism have continued and will only be enhanced by the work of this committee.
“The revived group – known as the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee – will be comprised of leaders from components within the Department of Justice, and co-chaired by a member of the U.S. Attorney community, the National Security Division, and the FBI.
“This committee will coordinate closely with U.S. Attorneys and other key public safety officials across the country to promote information-sharing and ensure an effective, responsive, and organized joint effort.
“Here at the Department of Justice, protecting the American people and ensuring the security of our nation will always be our highest priorities. And we will never waver in our continuing effort to ensure that anyone who seeks to harm this nation, its people, or its vital interests will be brought to justice and held accountable for their actions – to the fullest extent of the law.”