Citizen Unrest Compared to Islamic Terrorism
It is clear that the government is uneasy as their continual overreach and push to control more and more of citizens wealth and freedoms starts to see some push back. Obamacare was one shock to the nation as they woke up to find that the government could demand that they buy a product they did not want. It is also obvious with the endless push for “gun control,” which is simply a euphemism for gun confiscation, that the government would prefer that only its agents are allowed to own a weapon. It is also manifest as the government demands more and more of citizens income, even as the middle class sees their wealth shrinking to support out of control government spending. And so the government rightly perceives that Americans are restive and angry, wondering why government elites control so much of their lives and their wealth, and pondering how they can regain the country for the people. The government sees this as potential insurrection, and it does not intend to give one inch, rather the plans are to stop the rebellion before it starts, and to take away even more rights and freedoms in the name of keeping the peace.
But federal prosecutors tackling domestic extremists still lack an important legal tool they have used extensively in dozens of prosecutions against Islamic State-inspired suspects: a law that prohibits supporting designated terrorist groups.
Carlin and other Justice Department officials declined to say if they would ask Congress for a comparable domestic extremist statute, or comment on what other changes they might pursue to toughen the fight against anti-government extremists.
The U.S. State Department designates international terrorist organizations to which it is illegal to provide “material support.” No domestic groups have that designation, helping to create a disparity in charges faced by international extremist suspects compared to domestic ones.
Carlin said his counter-terrorism team, including a recently hired counsel, is taking a “thoughtful look at the nature and scope of the domestic terrorism threat” and helping to analyze “potential legal improvements and enhancements to better combat those threats.”
The counsel, who was appointed last October and has not been named publicly, will identify cases being prosecuted at the state level that “could arguably meet the federal definition of domestic terrorism,” a Justice Department official said.
That would give the department a direct role in more domestic extremism cases.
Recognizing that domestic threats were “rapidly evolving, and had the potential to grow,” the department in March 2015 rated disrupting such terrorists as a key component of its broader counter-terrorism efforts, officials said.
The maximum penalty for supporting one of these groups has been raised from 10 years to 20 years in prison since 2001.
Domestic groups enjoy greater constitutional protections because being a member of those groups, no matter how extreme their rhetoric, is not a crime.
Prosecutors can bring “material support” terrorism charges against defendants who aren’t linked to groups on the State Department’s list, but they have only done so twice against non-jihadist suspects since the law was enacted in 1994. The law, which prohibits supporting people who have been deemed to be terrorists by their actions, carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Look for more aggressive actions by the federal government to stifle dissent and to control those who would question its authority in a variety of scenarios. Government is intent on keeping its power by whatever means is required, and so the belief that “domestic terrorists” need to be controlled with greater and greater force will develop as the dissatisfaction of the American public grows.