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Statement

Coalition Letter Urges Congress to Protect Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in Wake of Capitol Attack

On January 21, 2021, the Brennan Center joined twenty-four other organizations in calling on Congress to reject proposals to create a new crime of domestic terrorism or expand the government’s surveillance authorities in response to the January 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Published: January 22, 2021

In the after­math of the Janu­ary 6th attacks on the Capitol by white nation­al­ists and other extrem­ists, there have been renewed calls for the creation of a new crim­inal stat­ute of domestic terror­ism. In addi­tion, Congress has a history of enlar­ging law enforce­ment’s surveil­lance author­it­ies in the wake of high-profile attacks. The Bren­nan Center and twenty-four civil rights and civil liber­ties organ­iz­a­tions are call­ing on Congress to refrain from enact­ing legis­la­tion that would expand law enforce­ment surveil­lance author­it­ies or create a new crime of “domestic terror­ism.” Not only are these meas­ures unne­ces­sary to address white nation­al­ist and far-right mili­tia viol­ence, but they have also histor­ic­ally infringed on the civil rights and civil liber­ties of margin­al­ized communit­ies. Instead, we urge Congress to invest­ig­ate why law enforce­ment agen­cies were so ill-prepared for such a predict­able event.