FBI Director Christopher Wray noted that his agency has made around 100 “domestic terrorism-related arrests since October.” Any guesses on how many of those were connected to white supremacist ideology?
“I will say that a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence, but it does include other things as well,” Wray said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the Hill reports.
According to Wray’s testimony, the arrests began in October, which marks fiscal 2019.
From the Hill:
The FBI is “aggressively” investigating domestic terrorism and hate crimes, Wray said, noting that the bureau is focused on investigating the violence, not the ideology motivating the attacks.
Wray distinguished between what he termed homegrown violent extremism, wording he said the FBI uses to refer to people in the United States who are inspired by global jihadists, and domestic extremism, which Wray described as broader to include racially motivated extremists, anarchists and others.
The number of domestic terrorism arrests are on par with the amount international terrorism cases, according to Wray.
“In terms of number of arrests, we have through the third quarter of this fiscal year had about give or take 100 arrests on the international terrorism side, which includes the homegrown violent extremism,” Wray told Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) at the hearing, the Hill reports. “We’ve also had just about the same number—again, don’t quote me to the exact digit—on the domestic terrorism side.”
Durbin noted that the White (Supremacist) House doesn’t appear to be too concerned with threats from white nationalists. Who can forget the president’s defense of white nationalists during a rally they held in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, in which the president claimed that there were good people “on both sides” of the protest?
The Hill notes that following the deadly attacks on mosques in New Zealand, the president claimed that he didn’t believe white nationalism was on the rise.
“There is a concern that this is not being taken as seriously as it should be as one of the real threats in our country,” Durbin said while raising questions about the FBI’s shift to the kinder, gentler “racially motivated violent extremism” to describe racist crimes.
“We take domestic terrorism or hate crime—regardless of ideology—extremely seriously, I can assure you, and we are aggressively pursuing it using both counterterrorism resources and criminal investigative resources and partnering closely with our state and local partners,” Wray said.
“Our focus is on the violence,” Wray added. “We the FBI don’t investigate the ideology, no matter how repugnant. We investigate violence. And any extremist ideology, when it turns to violence, we’re all over it.”
Wray however sidestepped questions about the role that the president’s derogatory and racist attacks against members of “the Squad”—Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts—whom the president has told to go back to their countries, has on hate crimes.
“I don’t really engage on rhetoric or social media commentary,” Wray said, Politico reports. “Our focus is on violence, on attempts to commit violence, on conspiracies to commit violence, and we will aggressively pursue that whether the victims are members of Congress or any other Americans.”