Washington (CNN)Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Friday released the department’s counterterrorism strategy, outlining the ongoing threats from foreign terrorism and focusing on domestic terror threats, particularly white supremacism.
McAleenan called white supremacist extremism is one of the most “potent ideologies” driving acts violence in the US. “In our modern age, the continued menace of racially based violent extremism, particularly white supremacist extremism, is an abhorrent affront to the nation, the struggle and unity of its diverse population,” he said in a speech at the Brookings Institution.
He pointed to the attacks in Poway, El Paso, Pittsburgh and Charleston, saying they were motivated by various extremist ideologies, including “very concerningly and increasingly, white supremacist violent extremism.”
According to McAleenan, ISIS and al Qaeda remain the “two most pressing radical Islamist terrorist threats” to the US with potential to direct plots and also to inspire homegrown violent extremism in their name.
The strategic announcement comes just days after a judge ruled that the American Airlines mechanic accused of trying to sabotage a commercial airliner before takeoff will be held in custody until trial. The judge said during a bond hearing that Ahmed Alani, who allegedly tried to damage or disable an aircraft’s air data module system, “may be very sympathetic to terrorists.”
Alani has been charged with “willfully damaging, destroying, disabling, or wrecking an aircraft, and attempting to do so,” according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court earlier this month. No terror-related charges have been filed.
President Donald Trump has been criticized for not condemning white supremacy strongly enough, with some accusing him of exacerbating the problem.