Domestic violent extremism investigations doubled from 2020 to 2021: FBI, DHS

(WASHINGTON) — Investigations involving a domestic violent extremism nexus doubled from 2020 to 2021, according to a new report released Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security and FBI.

The law enforcement agencies say that in 2020, the FBI was conducting 1,400 domestic terrorism investigations, and by the end of 2021 they were conducting 2,700.

The agencies say a large part of the increase was due to the events and investigations surrounding the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“One of the most significant terrorism threats to the Homeland we face today is posed by lone offenders and small groups of individuals who commit acts of violence motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances,” the report says. “Of these actors, domestic violent extremists represent one of the most persistent threats to the United States today. These individuals are often radicalized online and look to conduct attacks with easily accessible weapons.”

The congressional mandated report was released nearly two years late by the FBI and DHS but no reason was provided.

Although there is no federal domestic terrorism charge, the report explains that there are a myriad of charges that can be brought and the case still have a domestic terrorism nexus.

“Individuals whose conduct involves DT or a threat thereof may be prosecuted by any USAO under a wide range of criminal statutes, some of which on their face relate to DT, and others of which do not,” the report says.

The number of domestic terrorism referrals also increased by almost a third.

In FY 2020, the FBI received approximately 5,669 referrals of possible DT incidents; and in FY 2021, the FBI received approximately 8,375 referrals of possible DT incidents.

Racially motivated violent extremists made up 40% of the investigations in 2020, and in 2021 38% of investigations centered around anti-government extremism.

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