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ADL and GWU Experts Release New Report on White Supremacist Terrorism

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Experts say U.S. should continue to explore designating other white supremacist groups as foreign terrorist organizations.

New York, NY, April 6, 2020 … Today, as news reports indicated that the U.S. Department of State will – for the first time ever – designate a white supremacist group as a terrorist organization, experts from ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) and George Washington University’s Program on Extremism released a joint report on white supremacist terrorism, urging the government to take further steps to address this emerging threat.

The report notes that, for now, none of the 69 organizations designated by the U.S. Department of State as Foreign Terrorist Organizations are white supremacist organizations, despite the dramatic uptick in that threat. The State Department’s expected announcement could alter that status – a historic shift in policy and one that ADL has long supported and applauds.

“White supremacists are clearly an international threat, so it is important the Department of State apply designations authority to certain groups and take other meaningful steps,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “White supremacist violence is spreading across borders and across continents. A terrorist designation is a powerful tool to address this threat.”

The new report, “White Supremacist Terror: Modernizing our Approach to Today’s Threat,” is the product of a significant collaboration, with George Washington University’s Program on Extremism acting as a leader in understanding law enforcement authorities used against ISIS in America, and ADL as the foremost authority on domestic extremism, including white supremacy. The report was written by four experts -- two members of ADL’s Center on Extremism and two researchers at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.

The report outlines modern tactics of white supremacist terrorists and the ways in which the legal system, and law enforcement specifically, can address those threats, demonstrating a number of important gaps in leadership, resources and laws that policymakers should address. Gaps assessed by the report include those in statutes, transparency, information-sharing, and prevention measures. 

Recent arrests demonstrate the evolution of the threat presented by violent white supremacists, and the experts illuminate that evolution in light of how new measures for disrupting and prosecuting domestic terrorism must be considered. The report examines such measures both in terms of effectiveness as well as any unintended consequences to civil liberties and includes a number of policy recommendations for the Administration and Congress.

Editors Note: For more information, or to schedule an interview with one of the authors of the report, please contact ADL Communications at