In the United States lone wolf attackers with easily accessible weapons present the greatest terrorism threat to the US and the number of people dying at the hands of racially motivated extremists every year is on the rise since 2017.
This was concluded in a joint report [pdf] by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
The report says that so far, 2019 was the “most lethal year” for domestic violent extremist attacks since 1995 — with 32 people killed, 24 of them by White supremacists. The report focuses on data from 2017-2019.
“In 2019, the FBI and DHS assessed RMVEs (Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists), primarily those advocating for the superiority of the white race, likely would continue to be the most lethal DVE threat to the Homeland,” the report said. “Our agencies had high confidence in this assessment based on the demonstrated capability of RMVEs in 2019 to select weapons and targets to conduct attacks, and the effectiveness of online RMVE messaging calling for increased violence.”
There were 57 domestic terrorism-related deaths between 2017 and 2019, the data shows, 47 of them racially motivated, mostly by White supremacists.
“Political disagreements within the United States could present opportunities for DVEs to engage in violence against individuals perceived to have opposing ideologies, prominent political or public figures, or members of the media covering these events,” the agencies wrote, referring to domestic violent extremists.
Nearly 850 domestic terrorism subjects were arrested by or in coordination with the FBI from fiscal year 2015 through 2019. In fiscal year 2016, approximately 229 arrests were made, compared to 107 in fiscal year 2019.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said that is what the Democrats were essentially fighting against:
“The report confirms what has been clear for some time: The greatest terrorist threat we face comes from radicalized lone offenders with easy access to weapons.”
They attack soft targets and have a variety of motivations, but a large majority of the most significant attacks have been carried out by white supremacist extremists,” Schiff said.
Preventing terrorist attacks remains a top priority for both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The threat posed by international and domestic threat actors has evolved significantly since 9/11. The greatest terrorism threat to the Homeland we face today is posed by lone offenders, 2 often radicalized online, who look to attack soft targets with easily accessible weapons. Many of these violent extremists are motivated and inspired by a mix of socio-political goals and personal grievances against their targets. With this report, we are providing our strategic intelligence assessments on domestic terrorists (DT), a detailed discussion of our procedures and methods to address DT threats, as well as data on DT incidents and our investigations.
Senator Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said he appreciated that the Biden administration released the report, but added that “there will likely need to be more conversations and supplemental data submissions from the Biden administration for Congress to get a more complete picture of the domestic terrorism threat landscape.”
“Congress needs data to help guide future legislative and oversight efforts to address the persistent scourge of domestic terrorism. The Executive Branch has this data; the biggest takeaway here is that presenting it in an aggregated manner that communicates to Congress and the American people the current threat picture continues to be a challenge,” he said in a statement, pointing out that the report was due more than 10 months ago.
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