Contrary to some television portrayals, DHS does not have a standing contingent of armed homeland security agents with a specific mandate to stop domestic terrorism. But it has agencies and programs that could expand to devote more attention and resources to risks posed by homegrown extremists.
DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis collects information from the FBI, private contractors and state and local law enforcement agencies to organize and disseminate threat reports. Its employees and contractors generally lack the training and experience of FBI investigators, and they rely on open-source material.
The office failed to generate a specific warning about the possibility of right-wing groups storming the Capitol in an attempt to keep President Donald Trump in power.
Homeland Security Investigations, a branch of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has about 6,000 agents nationwide who investigate drug smuggling, human trafficking and illicit goods or currency. HSI has not focused on countering domestic extremism, but it is an armed component of DHS that, in theory, could have a more hands-on role stopping homegrown terrorists and white supremacists.