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Holder revives domestic terrorism task force

[JURIST] US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] announced [text] Tuesday that the Department of Justice [official website] will revive a formerly defunct task force to combat domestic terrorism. The task force, called the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, was originally formed following the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995 [FBI backgrounder] but was shut down following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks [JURIST backgrounder]. Holder stated that "we must ... concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice," prompting groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] to express concern that the task force could engage in racial profiling or the suppression of controversial speech.

A US district judge in February allowed [JURIST report] lawyers representing Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith [JURIST news archive], to pose written questions to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC backgrounder, JURIST news archive], the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. A judge from the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania [official website] in January sentenced [JURIST report] American-born "Jihad Jane" to 10 years in prison for her failed Al-Qaeda [JURIST news archive] ordered assassination attempt. In August the Associated Press (AP) [media website] released a report [JURIST report] claiming that the New York Police Department (NYPD) [official website] has secretly conducted terrorism investigations on at least a dozen mosques without evidence of criminal activity since the September 11 attacks.

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