Trial Begins Today on Oath Keepers Who Attacked US Capitol and Police
Gottheimer to Introduce FASTER Act to Combat Domestic Terrorism and Extremism
Above: Gottheimer at today’s House Committee on Homeland Security hearing on domestic extremism, terror, and antisemitism in Teaneck.
TEANECK, NJ — Today, October 3, 2022, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) helped host the House Committee on Homeland Security’s congressional field hearing on countering violent extremism, terrorism, and antisemitic threats in New Jersey. Gottheimer questioned expert witnesses on how to combat the troubling rise in antisemitism, domestic extremism, and terror in New Jersey and nationwide. Gottheimer also announced the introduction of the bipartisan FASTER Act — the Freezing Assets of Suspected Terrorists and Enemy Recruits Act — along with Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), to help law enforcement freeze the assets of ISIS-inspired, lone-wolf terrorists or other domestic extremists that are arrested on U.S. soil. We simply cannot run the risk of funds being used by an ISIS-inspired terrorist or other extremist to carry out another attack by friends, family, or unknown accomplices operating in a small cell.
“Over the last years, we’ve witnessed an alarming spike in activity from domestic extremist groups threatening our communities with violence and hate — in person, online, and deep in our communities,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee. “Unfortunately, the extreme actions and radical ideas of domestic extremist groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys go beyond January 6th. These domestic terrorists have seeped into our communities — putting our families in danger, pitting our neighbors against one another, further dividing our country. We must combat violent extremism, global and domestic terrorism, antisemitic threats, and all forms of hate wherever it exists and ensure our communities and law enforcement have the resources they need to stay safe and secure.”
Today, the trial began of Oath Keepers’ leader Stewart Rhodes and several of his associates for seditious conspiracy for their role in attempting to overthrow the government on January 6th. The Oath Keepers not only attacked the Capitol, but are also Holocaust deniers. Rioters on January 6th were seen wearing antisemitic imagery.
Expert witnesses today included New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Laurie Doran, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Regional Director for New York and New Jersey Scott Richman, Rutgers Hillel Interim Executive Director Rabbi Esther Reed, Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Project Director Susan Corke, Bard College Center for the Study of Hate Director Kenneth Stern, and American Jewish Committee U.S. Director for Combating Antisemitism Holly Huffnagle.
Gottheimer was joined by Committee Vice Chair Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Rep. Jim Langevin (RI-2), Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Rep. Al Green (TX-9), and Rep. Tom Malinowski (NJ-9).
Gottheimer is combatting domestic extremism, terror, and antisemitism by:
Introducing the bipartisan FASTER Act to combat domestic terrorism and extremism: Gottheimer is introducingthe Freezing Assets of Suspected Terrorists and Enemy Recruits Act to, state-of-the-art National Homegrown Terrorism Incident Clearinghouse for all levels of law enforcement to collect and share information on incidents of ISIS inspired, homegrown, lone wolf terrorism and violent domestic extremism.
Clawing back federal Nonprofit Security Grants: Since taking office, Gottheimer has worked to keep North Jersey’s houses of worship, synagogues, temples, religious schools, and community organizations safe. He has helped these organizations claw back more than $8 million in nonprofit security grants to North Jersey while in office — the most out of any district in New Jersey.
Passing the bipartisan Darren Drake Act: Gottheimer’s bipartisan Darren Drake Act passed the House, and Gottheimer is now pushing for the legislation to be introduced and passed in the Senate, to get it fully across the finish line. The bill will help stop ISIS-inspired and Lone Wolf Terrorists from using trucks and other vehicles as weapons of terror. The legislation is named in memory of New Milford resident Darren Drake, a victim of the October 2017 New York City West Side Highway terrorist truck attack.
Supporting law enforcement: Gottheimer recently introduced the bipartisan, bicameral legislation, the Invest to Protect Act, to make real progress for public safety by investing in good policing to protect our families and officers. The legislation recently passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, and will ensure that local police departments across our country have what they need to recruit and retain the finest officers, to provide necessary training, and to invest in providing mental health resources for our officers.
Clawing back our federal tax dollars to support North Jersey’s first responders: Gottheimer, in his most recent reporting, announced that the Fifth District clawed back 357% more federal tax dollars back from Washington and the Moocher States since he took office. This includes more than $3.5 million of surplus federal equipment and resources for local law enforcement in 2020 and more than $2.7 million in federal investment since taking office to help hire law enforcement and help our police officers better protect our communities and themselves.
Below: Gottheimer at today’s House Committee on Homeland Security hearing on domestic extremism, terror, and antisemitism in Teaneck.
Gottheimer’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery are below.
Good morning. I’d first like to welcome everyone to Teaneck. Thank you to the mayor and council for welcoming us. On behalf of North Jersey’s Fifth District, we’re honored to be hosting my Homeland Security Committee colleagues. We’re here, as mentioned, to address the troubling rise in antisemitism and domestic violent extremism in New Jersey and nationwide.
I want to thank Chairman Thompson, Vice Chair Torres, today’s witnesses, and colleauges for recognizing the importance of this issue, for bringing it front and center, and for their leadership in combating hate and extremism.
Across the country, including right here in our community, there has been a dramatic spike in hate crimes targeting religious and ethnic groups and members of the LGBT community.
For example, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), who we’re honored to have joining us today, the overall number of antisemitic incidents in New Jersey rose by 25 percent last year — the most ever recorded in New Jersey by the ADL since tracking began.
In fact, in a gruesome antisemitic attack last year here in Teaneck, a man wielding a hammer broke the windows of a pediatrician’s office and drycleaners. The bloodied man confronted a mother and daughter asking if they were Jewish. This is just one of 70 reported antisemitic incidents here in Bergen County last year – the highest in all of New Jersey.
And, just last week, the Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, at Rutgers was, once again, vandalized — this time during the High Holiday of Rosh Hashanah. This is the second time in just one calendar year.
Unfortunately, nationally, the ADL’s Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in the U.S. recorded 2,717 acts of assault, vandalism, and harassment in 2021 — an average of more than 7 incidents per day.
That’s why I’m working to ensure we’re keeping North Jersey’s houses of worship, synagogues, temples, and religious schools safe. I’m proud to have helped these organizations claw back more than $8 million in nonprofit security grants to North Jersey while I’ve been in office — the most out of any district in New Jersey.
We’ve also experienced a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes since the pandemic, especially here in North Jersey. In fact, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found that anti-Asian hate crime increased by 339 percent last year compared to the year before.
I know that the rise of racially-charged attacks against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has many no longer feeling safe. I hear stories of residents having to carry pepper spray around town and fear letting their kids go out to play. This shouldn’t be their new normal.
As we are seeing a rise in extremism and hate crimes across the country, it’s critical that we take steps to invest in — not defund — law enforcement to keep families and communities safe.
That is why I introduced my new bipartisan, bicameral bill, the Invest to Protect Act — which just passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support — to ensure that local police departments across our country have what they need to recruit and retain good police officers, to provide necessary training, and to invest in providing mental health resources for our officers.
I’m also introducing today the bipartisan FASTER Act — the Freezing Assets of Suspected Terrorists and Enemy Recruits Act — along with Republican Brian Fitzpatrick, to help law enforcement freeze the assets of ISIS-inspired, lone-wolf terrorists or other domestic extremists that are arrested on US soil.
We simply cannot run the risk of funds being utilized by an ISIS-inspired terrorist or domestic extremist to carry out another attack, whether that’s at Ground Zero, a shooting in Jersey City targeting the Jewish community, in temples, at schools, or on the West Side Highway, where a terror truck took the life of our own Darren Drake. According to our FBI field office, these terror threats remain their number one concern.
The FASTER Act will also implement a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art National Homegrown Terrorism Incident Clearinghouse for all levels of law enforcement to collect and share information on incidents of ISIS inspired, homegrown, lone wolf terrorism and violent domestic extremism. We know there has also been a huge spike of extremist chatter online via social media, including attempts to recruit Americans into their small cells.
Over the last years, we’re also witnessing an alarming spike in activity from domestic extremist groups threatening our communities with violence and hate – in person, online, and deep in our communities. We regularly hear the names of domestic terrorist groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys because of their involvement in the January Sixth attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In fact, just today, the trial began of Oath Keepers’ leader Stewart Rhodes and several of his associates for seditious conspiracy for their role in attempting to overthrow the government on January Sixth. Several of those who attacked law enforcement, the Capitol, and our country on January Sixth have been arrested here in New Jersey, including a few miles from here in Sussex County, which is also in my District.
And, the Oath Keepers not only attacked the Capitol, but according to their own member, are also Holocaust deniers. Rioters on January Sixth were even seen wearing antisemitic imagery.
This is not a new issue here in New Jersey, where the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security, whose Director is also here today, has been tracking and taking action against these domestic extremist groups for years now, including the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, and Proud Boys. They’ve tracked their antisemitic, anti-Asian, anti-Muslim activity, and anti-American sentiment. The Department then works with local law enforcement by sharing this information in order to combat these threats.
Unfortunately, their extreme actions and radical ideas go beyond January Sixth. These domestic terrorists have seeped into our communities — putting our families in danger, pitting our neighbors against one another, further dividing our country.
Community partners, law enforcement, and experts are vital to addressing and understanding these threats, which is why I’m incredibly thankful for our witnesses for joining us today. I look forward to hearing from them about how we can work together to combat violent extremism, global and domestic terrorism, and antisemitic threats.
We must combat all forms of hate wherever it exists and ensure our communities and law enforcement have the resources they need to stay safe and secure. Thank you.
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