NY State Police to ‘connect the dots’ on social media to track domestic terrorism
A new unit in the New York State Intelligence Center will track online threats under an executive order from Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The New York State Police will use data to “connect the dots” as it analyzes social media for potential domestic terrorism threats, Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said this week.
The state police will establish a new unit within the New York State Intelligence Center that will track violent domestic extremism and increase monitoring of social media for any investigative leads that could come from online promotion of violence, under an executive order Hochul signed in May after a mass shooting at a Buffalo grocery store.
Hochul also announced new funding and guidance for counties in the state to support the development of their own Domestic Terrorism Prevention Plans, another tenet of the executive order.
The State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services encouraged local governments to develop Threat Assessment and Management teams to identify, assess and mitigate any threats of targeted violence and will make $10 million in grants available to counties for that purpose.
“That's all everybody talked about after 9/11 is why didn't we see this coming?” Hochul said, according to a transcript of her remarks. “Why didn't we connect the dots? And now with social media platforms being so widely available, they can be examined. They need to be examined because the Buffalo shooter could have been stopped in his tracks because he basically demonstrated and said what he intended to do.”
A June report from the Anti-Defamation League found extremist activities of various kinds on the rise throughout New York, including antisemitism.
The ADL recommended, among other things, that elected officials create a “clearinghouse” for extremist content online, which would keep track of posts and provide it to law enforcement if it “crosses a criminal threshold.”
Hochul said paying closer attention to social media and analyzing trends will help the state and its localities more quickly identify domestic terror threats.
“[We] are not in the crime solving business today, we're in the crime prevention business,” she said. “And that starts with our concentrated effort on domestic terrorism."