Donald Trump's Disorganized Brand of Terrorism - 2021-01-19
On a recent episode of Amicus, Dahlia Lithwick spoke with Juliette Kayyem, who served as assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama, about the Capitol riot, how Donald Trump stoked this particular type of violence, and how counterterrorism techniques can inform the response to this extremist right-wing movement. A portion of their conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, is transcribed below.
Dahlia Lithwick: I want to start by asking you about this phrase stochastic terrorism because you've been saying it and saying it. And I feel like I wrote it this week, and then one of my dear friends was like, "What the hell does that mean?" Can you explain what it means?"
Juliette Kayyem: It doesn't roll off the tongue, I know. I think the first time I used it publicly was in 2018. I had been looking at what Trump was doing, and inciting violence was not the right terminology, because it was a particular type of violence. It was a violence that was directed toward political gain. Now, that could be whether it's against a mayor he doesn't like, or a governor he doesn't like, or people he doesn't like, or media personalities, as he's often wont to do. And the means that he did it is stochastic terrorism. Stochastic means random.