FBI Director: 'Domestic Terrorism Has Been Metastasizing Across the Country...And It's Not Going Away'

By Susan Jones | March 2, 2021 | 11:02am EST
FBI Director Christopher Wray (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
FBI Director Christopher Wray (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - "Unfortunately, January 6 was not an isolated event," FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday.

"The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now, and it's not going away any time soon," Wray testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

At the FBI, we've been sounding the alarm on it for a number of years now. I've been sounding the alarm about domestic terrorism since, I think, just about my first month on the job, when I first started appearing up on the Hill, and I have spoken about it in maybe a dozen different congressional hearings.

So whenever we've had the chance, we've tried to emphasize that this is a top concern and remains so for the FBI. In fact -- in fact, we viewed it as such a critical threat that back in June of 2019, under my leadership, we elevated racially- and ethnically-motivated violent extremism to our highest threat priority, on the same level with ISIS and home-grown violent extremists, where it remains to this day.

Wray said the FBI has increased the number of domestic violent extremism cases on his watch, "from around a thousand or so when I got here to up to about 1,400 at the end of last year to about 2,000 now. That's domestic terrorism overall,"  he said.

When it comes to racially motivated violent extremism, that number -- again, the number of investigations , the number of arrests has grown significantly on my watch. And the number of arrests, for example, of racially motivated violent extremists who are what you would categorize as white supremacists, last year was almost triple the number it was my first year as director.

And when it comes to anarchist violent extremists...that number has also grown over the course of my tenure.  Last year, I think we had more arrests of anarchist violent extremists than in the prior three years combined.

Wray said with help from the American public, the FBI has arrested more than 270 people involved in the Capitol attack so far, with more suspects being identified every day.

"We're chasing down leads, we're reviewing evidence, combing through digital media to identify, investigate and arrest anyone who broke the law that day."

The people who attacked the Capitol came from a "variety of backgrounds," Wray said.

"Certainly there were quite a number -- we're seeing quite a number as we're building out the cases on the individuals we've arrested for the violence, quite a number of what we would call sort of militia violent extremists. So we've got a number self-identified with Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers, things like that.

"We also have a couple of instances where we've already identified individuals involved in criminal behavior we would put in the racially motivated violent extremist (category) who advocate for what you call white supremacy. So we've identified some of those individuals as well."

Wray refused to discuss what caused the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, because it's an "ongoing investigation."

"We're not at a point where we can disclose or confirm the cause of death," he said.

MRC Store