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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.