Preventing and Responding to Domestic Terrorism
WHEREAS, on May 14, 2022, a shooting at a Buffalo, NY, supermarket killing 10 people by an individual motivated by racist conspiracy theories discovered on internet message boards highlights the urgent and significant threat the State faces from domestic extremists;
WHEREAS, the number of domestic extremist attacks, arrests, and plots have more than tripled from 2011 to 2021, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, with more than “38 white supremacist and other like-minded terrorist attacks and plots” in 2021;
WHEREAS, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence continues to determine that domestic extremism poses a heightened threat to the United States;
WHEREAS, domestic extremists use social media and other online platforms to distribute propaganda to inspire violence, recruit, plan, and conspire with one another;
WHEREAS, domestic extremists continue to call for violence directed at critical infrastructure; soft targets and mass gatherings; faith-based institutions, such as churches, synagogues, and mosques; institutions of higher education; people of different races and religions; government facilities and personnel; the media; and perceived ideological opponents;
WHEREAS, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has determined that the United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis-, dis-, and mal-information introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors;
WHEREAS, misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information are introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors;
WHEREAS, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DHS assess that white supremacist violent extremists remain the most persistent threat for mass casualty attacks amongst domestic extremists;
WHEREAS, a collaborative effort involving State and local governments and law enforcement, school officials, health care providers and private entities is required to comprehensively respond to this urgent threat;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, KATHY HOCHUL, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the State of New York, do hereby order as follows:
- Every county and the City of New York must perform a comprehensive review of current strategies, policies, procedures, practices. Every county and the City of New York must develop and maintain a plan to identify and confront threats of domestic terrorism that includes racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists. This plan must include input from law enforcement, mental health professionals, school officials, and other key stakeholders within their jurisdiction and be submitted to the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Counterterrorism on or before December 31, 2022. These plans will be used to inform funding distributions in forthcoming grant opportunities.
- The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services shall establish a unit within the Office of Counterterrorism dedicated to preventing domestic terrorism. This unit will be responsible for: (1) developing best practices for law enforcement, mental health professionals, and school officials to address the rise in targeted violence, domestic violence extremism, and homegrown violent extremism; (2) developing training for law enforcement, mental health professionals, and school officials to increase awareness of domestic violent extremism and radicalization; and (3) implementing a program to use social media and other mediums to intervene in the radicalization process. There is hereby established the Threat Assessment Management Program (“Program”), to be administered by the Office of Counterterrorism. The Program shall disburse funding to counties to assist in creating and operating threat assessment management teams. Such teams shall be comprised of law enforcement, mental health professionals, school officials, and other key stakeholders tasked with identifying, assessing, and mitigating the threat of targeted violence. Funding shall be made available in the form of grants, which shall be awarded to counties consistent with all applicable procurement laws and rules.
- The State Police shall establish a dedicated unit within the New York State Intelligence Center (NYSIC) to track domestic extremism and increase social media monitoring at the Intelligence Center. The unit will be responsible for developing investigative leads based on social media analyses focused on radical extremist activities motivated threats by identifying online locations and activities that facilitate radicalization and promote violent extremism.
G I V E N under my hand and the Privy Seal
of the State in the City of
Albany this eighteenth day of
May in the year two thousand
BY THE GOVERNOR
Secretary to the Governor