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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: insider threat

As far-right demonstrators gathered outside the Oregon Capitol in December in the hope of ending coronavirus restrictions, state Rep. Mike Nearman (R) appeared to deliberately allow entry to two men trying to breach the building as he was leaving.

Without hesitation, two rioters on Dec. 21 rushed inside the state Capitol in Salem, Ore., held doors open and signaled for others to come in before police arrived to cut off the security breach, according to surveillance video obtained by the Oregonian and Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Nearman, 57, now faces criminal charges for his role in allegedly allowing the rioters to breach the Oregon Capitol, Marion County District Attorney Paige E. Clarkson announced Friday. The GOP lawmaker has been charged with misdemeanor counts of first-degree official misconduct and second-degree criminal trespass, according to court documents.

Read more: Washington Post

The Department of Homeland Security will undergo an internal review to root out white supremacy and extremism in its ranks as part of a larger effort to combat extremist ideology in the federal government, officials said on Monday.

The task of identifying extremists throughout the United States, and specifically in government agencies, has come to the top of President Biden’s agenda since Jan. 6, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. Many of the rioters were found to be members of extremist groups.

“We recognize that domestic violent extremism and the ideology, the extremist ideologies that spew it, are prevalent,” said Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary. “We have a responsibility, given what we do, to ensure that that pernicious influence does not exist in our department.”

Read more: New York Times

One day after two four-star military commanders told Congress they did not have problems with extremists in their ranks, the top adviser on the issue to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin took a different view and stated plainly that he believes the opposite.

"It would be remiss if we didn't admit that there is a problem with extremist behavior in the military. That is to say that one extremist is one too many," Bishop Garrison on Wednesday told a Center for American Progress think tank seminar on ending White supremacist violence.

"The George Floyd murder hearing and a lot of these other day-to-day issues that greatly affect communities of color whether or not they wear a uniform or work for DoD are vitally important for us to understand. If we're going to be strong teammates we have to ensure that we're being proper allies for those individuals going through a lot of difficult times within their own communities, so having an education and training line of effort that helps us better understand these gray areas and what we need to do to help address a lot of these issues is going to be of vital importance for us," Garrison said. He is the first senior Pentagon official to speak about the Floyd case since the guilty verdict Tuesday against former police officer Derek Chauvin.

Read more: CNN

After a career in the Army, little surprises Col. Christopher Nyland, garrison commander at Fort George G. Meade.

He knows that there are members of the Army and the military as a whole that express extremist behaviors. That was only reinforced by the training he underwent and led regarding extremism in the military.

“I would challenge you to find any group of 3 million people that didn’t have some members in their ranks that didn’t have some of those beliefs… So that was about overcoming the ‘we don’t have a problem,’” Nyland said.

“And I think no one in the room was surprised, at least in the group that I led or the group that I participated in, that that kind of behavior was unacceptable.”

Read more: Baltimore Sun

The Department of Defense is seeking a sharper definition of prohibited extremist activity, among other steps, as it pushes forward with a fight against extremist ideology within the ranks, the Pentagon announced Friday.

The steps include a review of current military policy that allows a service member to belong to an extremist organization as long as they don't advocate for the group.

The newly announced "critical initial steps" come after the military completed its service-wide discussions about extremism, including a review of the oath of service and current rules about supremacist and extremist ideologies. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin gave the services 60 days to conduct these discussions, which ended this week.

Read more: CNN