Governor Abbott forms Domestic Terrorism Task Force in wake of El Paso mass shooting

On Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott formed a Domestic Terrorism Task Force in the wake of the El Paso shooting to combat violent acts and extremism in Texas. The group of experts will analyze and provide advice on strategies to maximize law enforcement’s ability to protect against acts of domestic terrorism. 

The task force will hold its first roundtable meeting with Governor Abbott on Friday, August 30.

Additionally, the Governor directed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to take immediate actions including:

  • Conducting a state intelligence assessment on the domestic terrorism threat in Texas.
  • Establishing a Domestic Terrorism Section within the Texas Fusion Center to monitor threats, increasing the detection and monitoring of domestic terrorism.
  • Establishing Domestic Terrorism Teams to provide immediate direct support to the FBI and increase the number of Special Agents assigned to conduct domestic counterterrorism investigations.
  • Increasing the number of DPS Special Agents and Analysts in the Texas Anti-Gang Centers conducting investigations on criminal gangs affiliated with Neo Nazi and White Nationalist groups and networks espousing terrorist attacks.

Governor Abbott issued the following statement about the task force: 

“Our top priority is to keep Texans safe in their communities. Part of that mission is to combat domestic terrorism and root out the extremist ideologies that fuel hatred and violence in our state. This task force brings together leaders with the expertise Texas needs to develop effective strategies and combat domestic terrorism. Texas is stronger when we come together in pursuit of a shared goal, and today’s actions are vital steps in our ongoing fight against extremism and violence. We stand united against those who wish to bring harm to our state, and together we will build a safer future for every Texan.”

The task force will meet quarterly, or at the call of the Governor.