“Back when 9/11 occurred, in those years we were very focused on the foreign terrorist, the individual who sought to do a severe harm to enter the United States and do us harm,” Mayorkas said in his interview on MSNBC on Sunday.
“It's then evolved, we began to be more and more concerned about the individuals already resident in the United States radicalized by a foreign terrorist ideology,” he continued. “Now we are seeing an emerging threat … over the last several years of the domestic violent extremist. The individual here in the United States radicalized to violence by a foreign terrorist ideology, but also an ideology of hate, anti-government sentiment, false narratives propagated on online platforms, even personal grievances.”
Mayorkas had previously called domestic extremism the country’s greatest terror-related threat.
Meanwhile, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, acknowledged on Sunday that he is highly concerned about domestic threats but that the threat of terror overall had “diminished.”
“The stunning thing to me is here we are twenty years later, and the attack on the symbol of our democracy was not coming from terrorists, but it came from literally insurgents attacking the Capitol on January 6,” he said on CBS News’ Face the Nation, adding that he wants to see a “unity of spirit” like what followed the 2001 attacks.
On NBC News’ Meet the Press on Sunday, per Politico, Vice President Kamala Harris said that election deniers and elected officials who support those who took part in the January 6 Capitol attack are responsible for eroding the nation’s reputation around the world. She called domestic terrorism “very dangerous,” which has made the country “weaker.”
“Through the process of what we’ve been through, we’re starting to allow people to call into question our commitment to those principles,” Harris said. “And that’s a shame.”
Attacks on U.S. democracy are “very dangerous, and I think it is very harmful. And it makes us weaker,” she continued.
When asked whether domestic threats now essentially rival the danger levels of terrorist threats from abroad, Harris noted that the two couldn’t be compared.
“Each are dangerous and extremely harmful, but they’re different,” Harris concluded.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.