Waging a Domestic War on Terror Threatens Civil Liberties
In the wake of the Capitol riots that claimed the lives of five people, President Joe Biden is considering legislation intended to curb domestic terror threats. The proposals would give even more power to law enforcement at all levels.
But how to disrupt and stop those groups intent on using violence to pursue their various ploys and schemes without damaging the civil liberties of all Americans ? That’s the big issue facing lawmakers. A letter from 10 House progressives to House leaders in both parties warns that “history is littered with examples of initiatives sold as being necessary to fight extremism that quickly devolve into tools used for the mass violation of the human and civil rights of the American people.”
The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf writes that government shouldn’t panic as it looks for ways to addressing domestic extremist groups:
Members of the supermajority who disdain the attack on the Capitol must keep their heads. Precisely because the transgression was outrageous, clouded judgment is likely, as are responses that do more harm than good, including to innocent people.
Resisting the urge to panic or “do something” isn’t Congress’ strong suit. But the laws on the books against rioting, breaking and entering, assault, and so on ought to be enough to charge those who engaged in violent acts at the Capitol earlier this month.
Let’s see how they work in the courts before entertaining calls to launch a domestic war on terror, and giving even more power to the security state.