Domestic Extremists Should Be Treated Like Insurgents In Iraq, Afghanistan, Former CIA Officer Says

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Kaylee Greenlee Immigration and Extremism Reporter
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Federal officials should use insurgency tactics as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq when handling domestic extremism, a former CIA officer said, NPR reported Tuesday.

The U.S. has been at war with al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan for nearly 19 years and recently the countries signed a peace deal that prohibits the Taliban from conducting terrorist activities and withdrawals some U.S. troops, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. The U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 on the premise of the government creating weapons of mass destruction and toppled the government leading to insurgent attacks on civilians and U.S. assets, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

“We may be witnessing the dawn of a sustained wave of violent insurgency within our own country, perpetrated by our own countrymen,” former CIA Counterterrorism Director and officer Robert Grenier wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times.

The U.S. faces a challenge of counterinsurgency which should be met by three specific actions including criminal justice, isolation and alienation of insurgents, and an undeniable take-down of the insurgent’s leadership, Grenier wrote for the Times. He named the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, the Oath Keepers and QAnon supporters as domestic threats following their participation in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

“The challenge facing us now is one of counterinsurgency. Though one may recoil at the thought, it provides the most useful template for action, which must consist of three elements,” Grenier wrote for The Times.

It’s not necessary to implement new laws or terror designations to find and prosecute known extremists responsible for committing crimes, Grenier wrote for The Times. The insurgents should be “isolated and alienated” from the general population, according to Grenier. (RELATED: Photos: The Political Symbols Of The Capitol Riot)

“Just as Al Qaeda in Iraq depended on a much larger community of disaffected Sunnis for tacit support and recruitment, we face the prospect of there being a mass of citizens — sullen, angry and nursing their grudges — among whom the truly violent minority will be able to live undetectably, attracting new adherents to their cause,” Grenier wrote for The Times.

The facts surrounding the 2020 presidential election need to be “undeniably established,” and that people need to engage with and listen to arguments on both sides to understand where people are coming from, Grenier wrote for The Times.

Grenier described former President Donald Trump as a charismatic leader to his supporters who created the conditions for extremists to be successful by convincing people that he won re-election, according to the Times. He then compared Trump supporters with supporters of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein who were angered and then diminished once their leaders were removed from prominence.

“Defeating him politically was the first step. Given the continuing threat he poses, convicting him in the Senate and barring him from future elective office is not only a just punishment for his crimes but also a national security imperative,” Grenier wrote for The Times. “The public shunning and permanent diminishment of Mr. Trump is a necessary requirement of future peace.”

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