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Biden admin announces initiative to assess and combat ‘domestic violent extremism’

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The administration of President Joe Biden has announced a three-pronged initiative in order to assess and combat “domestic violent extremism” (DVE) over two weeks after the storming of the U.S. Capitol by extremists that resulted in 5 deaths.

At a Friday press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki unveiled the initiative, describing the first steps the administration is taking to counter DVE.

Psaki said that the deadly January 6 Capitol riot and the destruction it caused has revealed that the “rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat.”

MORE ON CAPITOL RIOT: Prosecutors: ‘strong evidence’ shows Capitol rioters sought to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials

The Biden administration “is committed to developing policies and strategies based on facts, on objective and rigorous analysis, and on our respect for constitutionally protected free speech and political activities,” she added.

The first of the three broad areas the initial work on DVE will fall under is a tasking that Psaki said Biden sent earlier on Friday to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence “requesting a comprehensive threat assessment coordinated with the FBI and [Department of Homeland Security]” on DVE.

“This assessment,” Psaki continued, “will draw on the analysis from across the government and, as appropriate, nongovernmental organizations.”

She went on to explain that the administration wants “fact-based analysis” in order to help “shape policy.”

The second area will be “the building of an [National Security Council (NSC)] capability to focus on countering” DVE, Psaki said. “As a part of this, the NSC will undertake a policy review effort to determine how the government can share information better about this threat, support efforts to prevent radicalization, disrupt violent extremist networks, and more.”

While she said that there’s already important work already happening in combatting DVE, the press secretary emphasized that the government needs to “understand better [DVE’s] current extent and where there may be gaps to address, so that we can determine the best path forward.”

Lastly, the third area will be “coordinating relevant parts of the federal government to enhance and accelerate efforts to address DVE,” Psaki stated.

Furthermore, the NSC will help “focus on addressing evolving threats, radicalization, the role of social media; opportunities to improve information sharing, operational responses, and more,” she added.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Biden frees Venezuelan President Maduro’s drug dealing relatives in prisoner swap

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President Biden freed two of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s relatives Saturday in exchange for seven jailed Americans. The two nephews of Maduro’s wife Cilia Flores, had been convicted in the United States for drug dealing and sentenced to 18 years in prison, according to the BBC.

According to the report, the swap was in exchange for five American oil executives. Those Americans were “exchanged for two of Mr Maduro’s wife’s nephews, who were serving 18-year sentences in the US on drug charges,” the officials told the BBC. Maduro’s nephews were convicted under the Trump administration and the Venezuelan government claims that they were “unjustly” jailed in the United States.

In a statement from the White House Saturday, Biden said the American’s were  “wrongfully detained.”  He said the American’s  would soon be reunited with their relatives, according to reports.

“Today, we celebrate that seven families will be whole once more. To all the families who are still suffering and separated from their loved ones who are wrongfully detained – know that we remain dedicated to securing their release,” the Biden statement added.

Meanwhile, 13 Republican members of Congress sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, requesting more information on “the intelligence report” that alleges Maduro is emptying his prisons and allowing them to head to the United States in the caravans that crossing the porous border.

The letter states that the report warns Border Patrol agents to be on the look-out for “violent criminals from Venezuela among the migrant caravans heading towards the U.S.-Mexico border.”

“It has been widely reported that the Venezuelan regime, under the control of Nicolás Maduro Moros, is deliberately releasing violent prisoners early, including inmates convicted of ‘murder, rape, and extortion,’ and pushing them to join caravans heading to the United States,” the letter states.

You can follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC.

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