On October 13, 2016, the Program on Extremism hosted a discussion with Mr. Thomas E. Brzozowski, the Counsel for Domestic Terrorism at the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to his present position, Mr. Brzozowski was an Assistant General Counsel in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel. The event, moderated by Seamus Hughes, the Program’s Deputy Director, provided insight into several legal dynamics related to domestic terrorism.
Mr. Brzozowski opened his discussion with an observation about developing a common terminology on terrorism within the intelligence community, labeling it a prerequisite for developing policies directly addressing the problem. Mr. Brzozowski then posed key question underlying the theme of his talk, asking the audience if they knew the difference between domestic and international terrorism prosecution; between free speech and a terrorist threat; and whether individuals can be charged with providing material support to domestic terrorist groups.
The discussion continued with Mr. Brzozowski delving into the history of combating domestic terrorism and providing an overview of Title 18 of the U.S. legal code. He stressed the point that domestic terrorists adhere to many different ideologies and that authorities do not focus on or discriminate based on a specific ideology but simply pursue those who commit illegal activities. The event concluded with a brief Q&A session with the audience.