Posted on February 9, 2021

Democrats’ Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act Shields Jihadists

Andrew McCarthy, National Review, January 30, 2021

How interesting that the familiar array of Islamist-apologist and left-wing groups, notoriously opposed to U.S. counterterrorism efforts, has lined up in support of congressional Democrats’ latest push for a “Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act.” Could it be because the proposed legislation goes out of its way to shield domestic terrorists who are catalyzed by foreign jihadist organizations?


Section 2 provides a definition for “domestic terrorism.” Sounds sensible . . . until you remember that federal law already has a definition of domestic terrorism. The term is codified by Section 2331(5) of the criminal code. It’s been there for a long time, and it’s perfectly fine. So why would we need another one?

Obviously, Democrats are not defining but redefining. The point is not to clarify what is already clear about domestic terrorism. It is to carve out an exemption from the definition — specifically, to create a new safe haven for a very specific category of terrorist.

Under the longstanding Section 2331 definition, “domestic terrorism” means activities that occur primarily within the territorial U.S., that are “dangerous to human life,” that violate state or federal law, and that are intended to accomplish one of the following three objectives: 1) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, 2) to influence government policy by intimidation or coercion, or 3) to affect government conduct by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.

Among the best things about this straightforward definition is that it has no exceptions. As long as the activities involved meet the stated criteria, the definition “domestic terrorism” applies to any terrorist, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, ideology, or any similar characteristic. {snip}

Not so with the Democrats’ new proposal. After throat-clearing about how “domestic terrorism” means what Section 2331 says it means, the proposal hastens to add “except . . .


does not include acts perpetrated by individuals associated with or inspired by (A) a foreign person or organization designated as a foreign terrorist organization … ; (B) an individual or organization designated under Executive Order 13224 [which relates to foreign terrorists and foreign entities] … ; or (C) a state sponsor of terrorism[.] [Emphasis added.]

In other words, if a Muslim in the United States commits a mass-murder attack because he has been inspired by al-Qaeda’s call for believers to attack American targets, or by the Iranian regime’s revolutionary jihadism, that attack would not be considered domestic terrorism.

You may be thinking, “Hey, McCarthy, stop getting everyone all riled up. Your hypothetical terrorist doesn’t need to be covered under domestic terrorism because he’s already covered under foreign terrorism, right?”


Or are you forgetting the Obama-Biden administration legerdemain? Whether it was the mass murder at Fort Hood, in San Bernardino, or at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the administration, its Homeland Security and Justice departments, and the FBI all resisted labeling the attack as “terrorism” because, they told us, the Muslim assassins did not appear to have “operational ties” to foreign terrorist organizations. Even if an attack was obviously terrorism, it wouldn’t be called “terrorism” because it hadn’t been directed by an organization the government had designated as “terrorist” — just “inspired,” which wasn’t good enough.

Of course, such an act would have fallen under the definition of “domestic terrorism,” but that’s because the Section 2331 federal definition did not have any exceptions. Now, if the Democrats’ proposal were enacted, there would be an exception — domestic attacks inspired by overseas jihadist groups would not be considered domestic terrorism. Why do you think the groups that reliably oppose counterterrorism measures are supporting this one?


The Democrats’ new proposal, however, would target domestic terrorism in an unprecedented way. There would be no new domestic terrorism crimes, at least not yet; but there would be a new concentration on investigating, arresting, and prosecuting domestic terrorists. Just not all domestic terrorists. In fact, just a very specific breed of domestic terrorist: white supremacists and neo-Nazis — i.e., what Democrats consider to be right-wing terrorism or, more specifically, Trump-inspired insurrectionists in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot.


Studiously unmentioned in the Democrats’ proposal, moreover, is the radical left — no Antifa, no Black Lives Matter militants, no communists, anarchists, or enviro-terrorists. Even as Portland, Seattle, and Denver remain under siege, the plan is to pretend that the last seven months of insurrectionist rioting never happened; or if it did, that it was the noble kind of insurrection.