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New Jersey Office of Homeland Security Hosts Meeting at Ridgewood Fire Department

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  yesterday in Ridgewood, on Monday September 9th, at Ridgewood Fire Department, 201 E Glen Ave, Ridgewood at 10:15 a.m. U.S. Congressmen Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-9) will focus on the fight against domestic terrorism, to combat the rise in ISIS-inspired, homegrown terror and white supremacist activity. New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Jared Maples and Village of Ridgewood Mayor Ramon Hache .

U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9) stood together, on the heels of the eighteenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks this week, to announce steps being taken to thwart threats of domestic ISIS and other foreign-inspired and domestic homegrown terrorists.

Gottheimer announced the bipartisan FASTER Act — the Freezing Assets of Suspected Terrorists and Enemy Recruits Act, which will take two actions. 1) It will give law enforcement the capability to freeze the assets of all domestic terrorists or those who provide material support to terrorists when a suspect is arrested by, or turned over to federal law enforcement. We simply cannot run the risk of funds being used by an ISIS-inspired terrorist or other extremist to carry out another attack by friends, family, or unknown accomplices operating in a small cell. 2) The FASTER Act will also implement a one-of-a-kind, state of the art National Homegrown Terrorism Incident Clearinghouse for all levels of law enforcement to collect and share information on incidents of ISIS inspired, homegrown, lone wolf terrorism and violent extremism. This will help investigate and thwart future attacks. The FASTER Act also applies to homegrown, radicalized supporters of foreign terrorist organizations including ISIS and Al Qaeda, as well as domestic terrorists.

Both Gottheimer and Pascrell were briefed this morning by the Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, which has identified homegrown violent extremists as the top threat to New Jersey this year.

Gottheimer and Pascrell, standing today at the Ridgewood Fire Department, both honored the nearly 3,000 Americans we lost on 9/11, including more than 400 firefighters, police, and other first responders who ran into the towers. The congressmen were joined by New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Jared Maples, Ridgewood Mayor Ramon Hache, Sr., and the New Jersey State Troopers Non-Commissioned Officers Association President Pete Stilianessis.

“Eighteen years since we lost nearly 3,000 Americans, including more than 400 firefighters, police, and other first responders who ran into the towers — true patriots, who, as ever, put others ahead of themselves and their families. What’s incredible is that you think of how many lives were touched that day by the hatred of Al-Qaeda, how many families destroyed, how many more servicemen and women have since fought for and died at home and abroad in the global fight against terror,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “And how many more have been inspired by that hatred here at home, brainwashed by their anti-American propaganda. Homegrown terrorists. And it’s not only ISIS-inspired and other foreign-terrorist threats. We have also seen a dramatic spike in an age-old homegrown enemy — white supremacy, right-wing nationalists, and other extremists. It’s incredibly clear to me that we need to be using every tool in our arsenal to disrupt and defeat all homegrown threats.”

Today, Gottheimer and Pascrell both stressed the growing need for greater civility throughout our nation.

Gottheimer continued, “I’m increasingly convinced, like so many others are, that hatred in all forms is fueled by what’s happening in our public debate and discourse. The screaming, the lies, the personal attacks, the pure nastiness. Our failure to follow the basic commandments of love thy neighbor. I think our country has had enough. I think people want us to come together. They want us all to take things down a notch, including their leaders.  They want us to work together, govern together, and solve problems together. As Americans first — not as Democrats or Republicans first. That’s what we did after 9/11. Yes, we need every tool to fight terror at home and abroad. We must protect our police, firefighters, and always stand by our service members and veterans. There are steps we can take and there are solutions right in front of us. But more than anything, we must address the underlying anger that’s tearing our country apart, splitting us asunder. We need to address issues like health care, high taxes, and dead-end jobs that are poisoning our spirit, and pledge our allegiance to our flag and our mission as a nation — to build that more perfect union.”

Gottheimer also highlighted his work on the Darren Drake Act, which will help thwart ISIS-inspired terrorist truck attacks by strengthening the information collected by vehicle dealers and rental agencies, and improving suspicious activity reporting to help law enforcement identify potential threats.

“The continuing attacks from right-wing domestic terrorists is out of control and getting worse,” said Rep. Pascrell, a former original member of the House Homeland Security Committee. “There is no cure-all here and defeating this scourge will require the entire village. Community leaders along with state and federal officials need to acknowledge that terror is no longer a purely international fight but a domestic one. We need to increase resources for community programs that identify radicalization before it metastasizes. And we must denounce incendiary rhetoric from all leaders that emboldens extremists. Only then will the fight against domestic extremism be successful. I want to thank Rep. Gottheimer for helping spearhead today’s important discussion.”

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