The Justice Dept’s Inspector General just released an audit of the FBI’s efforts to identify homegrown violent extremists, Audit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Efforts to Identify Homegrown Violent Extremists through Counterterrorism Assessments. Here was the objective of the audit:

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) efforts to identify homegrown violent extremists (HVE) through counterterrorism assessments. Our objectives were to review the FBI’s HVE-related casework and resource management and evaluate its policies and processes to assess HVE threats from October 2012 through September 2018.

Key findings:

Since September 11, 2001, HVEs have carried out over 20 attacks in the United States, some of which occurred after the FBI closed a counterterrorism investigation or assessment on the individual.

We further found that the FBI has experienced a substantial influx of reports of suspicious incidents, but has not developed comprehensive strategies for addressing t he challenges associated with the potential cross-over between terrorist threats and other categories of threats, for example, those posed by individuals with mental health issues and crim inal threats to life.

According to the FBI, between January 2015 and December 2018, it arrested 65 individuals who allegedly planned to conduct terrorist attacks in the United States.

Perhaps the most significant finding was that there were at least six attacks by HVEs in the US who were previously identified/investigated by the FBI, including Ft. Hood (2009), the Boston Marathon bombing (2013), and the Orlando Pulse Nightclub attack (2016). These are serious failures that cost American lives. Note the details of each of the six in the graphic in the below tweet:

Most of the recommendation made in the IG report had to do with internal policies, processes and procedures and read like the typical government gobbledygook. Here are a couple of the more easily-decipherable recommendations:

  • Review existing guidance for processing and systematically categorizing, assigning, and assessing threats and suspicious activities in the Guardian system that are related to counterterrorism threat-to-life incidents, and develop any additional policies and procedures required.

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for assessing and mitigating threats with subjects who have mental health concerns, which incorporates a requirement for field offices to establish a plan to utilize the resources and legal techniques specific to their area of responsibility to address this emerging threat, and deploy a training module to provide subject mitigation techniques when dealing with individuals suffering from mental health problems.

The entire report can be obtained and read at leisure here.

The end.

Stu Cvrk
Stu Cvrk served 30 years in the US Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. An oceanographer and systems analyst through education and experience, Stu is a graduate of the US Naval Academy where he received a classical liberal education which serves as the key foundation for his political commentary. He threads daily on Twitter on a wide range of political, military, foreign policy, government, economics, and world affairs topics.
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