The FBI has 2,700 active investigations into alleged “domestic terrorism,” which amounts to more than twice the typical number of cases, counterterrorism officials said last week. The report comes amid growing concerns that the Biden administration’s focus on “domestic terrorism” is politically motivated.
In an interview with The Washington Times on Saturday, Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) said the counterterrorism and counterintelligence panel of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is concerned that the FBI, CIA and NSA could all “be turned inward to target U.S. citizens without a foreign nexus.”
“You have people that are ramping up the rhetoric on domestic violent extremism … to sort of make the case for and essentially justify the misuse, potentially, of intelligence assets that are specifically authorized for foreign threats,” Crawford said.
In September, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that the bureau was forced to increase personnel by 260 percent in order to manage the skyrocketing “domestic terrorism” caseload, which had grown to 2,700 cases.
“The first bucket, the homegrown violent extremists, has been humming along fairly consistently at about 1,000 investigations — sometimes a little more sometimes a little less — over the last few years,” Wray explained at the time. “The domestic violent extremists bucket, had been going up quite significantly over the last few years, which is why we’re now at 2,700 domestic terrorism investigations when if you went back two and a half years ago we’re probably more about 1,000 So it’s been a really significant jump there.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland contributed to fears that Biden’s administration is using federal agencies to target political opposition when, in October, Garland directed the FBI to help combat “efforts to intimidate” and “threats” aimed at school officials and teachers. The move came less than one week after the National School Board Association (NSBA) asked Biden for FBI, Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security protection from “threats of violence” and “acts of intimidation” that could be classified as “domestic terrorism.”
The NSBA later retracted its letter, writing that they “regret and apologize” for it, adding that there is “no justification for some of the language included in the letter.” Garland, however, has not withdrawn the Department of Justice’s plan to investigate those who protest school officials and teachers.
“It’s exactly this kind of intimidation of private citizens by government officials that our federal civil rights laws were designed to prevent,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), wrote in a letter to Garland.
Last month, President Joe Biden once again called white supremacist domestic terrorism “the most lethal terrorist threat” to the United States homeland.
“I’ve said it before and all of my colleagues here know it: according to the United States intelligence community, domestic terrorism from white supremacists is the most lethal terrorist threat in the homeland,” Biden said during a speech commemorating the anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.
Earlier this year, the White House announced the National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, which claims that experts and evidence have shown today’s domestic terrorists include those who espouse “racial or ethnic bigotry and hatred” as well as “anti-government or anti-authority sentiment.” However, anti-law enforcement ideologies such as those espoused by Antifa and Black Lives Matter were not mentioned.