White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said 'all violence' will be reviewed as part of the Biden administration's efforts to tackle domestic violent extremism in the wake of the January 6 riot on the US Capitol as well as recent unrest in Portland, Seattle and Denver.
Speaking in the White House press briefing Tuesday, Psaki confirmed that the national security team will look at all violence going on nationwide through the same lens - whether from right-wing extremists or left-wing agitators.
'All violence happening around the country will be reviewed by the tasking by the national security team,' Psaki said.
Her comments came after Fox News Journalist Peter Doocy asked if the office of Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines is branding the people who participated in riots in Portland, Oregon, as 'domestic violent extremists' alongside the Capitol rioters.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (above) has said 'all violence' will be reviewed as part of the Biden administration's efforts to tackle domestic violent extremism in the wake of the January 6 riot on the US Capitol as well as the recent unrest in Portland, Seattle and Denver
Psaki announced Friday that President Joe Biden had directed law enforcement and intelligence officials to study the threat of domestic violent extremism in the US.
This came just two days after Biden took office in a scaled-down inauguration ceremony in the wake of the January 6 insurrection where Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, attacked law enforcement, looted sensitive items including Nancy Pelosi's laptop and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives.
Five died in the violent insurrection including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick who was killed after being struck over the head with a fire extinguisher.
Violence also erupted in other cities along the Pacific Northwest last week just hours after Biden was sworn in as the 46th president.
Anti-fascist rioters smashed the windows of Portland's Democratic Party headquarters and threw rocks and eggs at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in the city.
Meanwhile, in Denver and Seattle, demonstrators burned US flags, vandalized store fronts and held aloft signs reading 'We don't want Biden, we want revenge!'
Psaki condemned the riots in Monday's White House press conference, saying smashing windows and looting is 'totally unacceptable' and not a peaceful protest.
WASHINGTON DC: On January 6 Donald Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, attacked law enforcement, looted sensitive items including Nancy Pelosi's laptop and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives
PORTLAND, OREGON: Anti-fascist rioters smashed the windows of Portland 's Democratic Party headquarters and threw rocks and eggs at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in the city on inauguration day
'President Biden condemns violence and any violence in the strongest possible terms,' she said.
'Peaceful protests are a cornerstone of our democracy but smashing windows is not protesting and neither is looting, and actions like these are totally unacceptable.'
She added: 'Actions like these are totally unacceptable and anyone who committed a crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.'
The White House announced Friday the launch of a 'comprehensive threat assessment' coordinated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
The review will be used as a foundation to develop policy, the White House said.
The National Security Council will do its own policy review to see how information about the problem can be better shared across the government.
DENVER, COLORADO: Demonstrators burned US flags on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol on January 20
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON STATE: Store fronts were vandalized in downtown Seattle on inauguration day
'The January 6 assault on the Capitol and the tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we all know: The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat,' Psaki said when announcing the review.
She told reporters 'more needs to be done' - a sentiment echoed by the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff who said it was 'critical' the new administration tackles the threat of extremism on home soil.
'In particular, far-right, white supremacist extremism, nurtured on online platforms, has become one of the most dangerous threats to our nation,' Schiff said.
Avril Haines was confirmed on inauguration day to the nation’s top intelligence job as the new Director of National Intelligence
Counter-terrorism experts including retired Army General Stanley McChrystal have warned that violent extremist movements are growing in the US in the days that followed the January 6 riot.
McChrystal, the former commander of American troops in Afghanistan, compared the MAGA riot to the evolution of Al-Qaeda saying in both instances people followed a 'powerful leader' who 'justified their violence', as he warned America is headed for a homegrown insurgency in an interview with Yahoo News.
He said there are terrifying parallels between the birth of the terrorist group responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks and the violent siege on the US Capitol last week that left five dead and sent shockwaves around the world.
'I did see a similar dynamic in the evolution of al-Qaida in Iraq, where a whole generation of angry Arab youth with very poor prospects followed a powerful leader who promised to take them back in time to a better place, and he led them to embrace an ideology that justified their violence,' McChrystal told Yahoo News.
'This is now happening in America.'
Across the sea of MAGA mob rioters paraphernalia and flags promoting several extremist groups including white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Proud Boys were visible.
Haines was confirmed on inauguration day to the nation’s top intelligence job as the new Director of National Intelligence.