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HomeopinionCounterterrorism officers must stop Islamist threats, as they did after 9/11

Counterterrorism officers must stop Islamist threats, as they did after 9/11

As a retired NYPD Inspector who spent roughly 15 years working counterterrorism, I saw the threats to the homeland wax and wane over my career. For some time now – and certainly since January 6th – our domestic intelligence agencies have focused heavily on what’s euphemistically called, “homegrown violent extremists.”  

While this term sounds expansive, in practice it has meant a politically motivated preference for monitoring right-wing groups that ostensibly present what President Joe Biden has called, an “existential crisis.”  

The focus on these groups has been a luxury belief of Washington elites made possible only by the cessation of the threat of Islamist extremism, due to the tireless work of previous intelligence and law enforcement officials.  

At this point, domestic counterterrorism officers cannot afford a wait-and-see strategy. The development of reliable sources of information can take months, if not years. Further, the deep situational expertise necessary to discern a genuine threat from posturing requires years of immersion in the work.  

One hopes that the Department of Justice has now recognized it’s time to forego its concerns about the threat from traditional Catholics and has begun focusing more on those who might genuinely pose an “existential threat” to our country.  

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Paul Mauro is an attorney and retired NYPD inspector.

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