New Report Warns of Rising Threat of Domestic Terrorism

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The Biden administration has made fighting domestic terrorism a priority. Along with the threat assessment, the administration is also reviewing what law enforcement and intelligence agencies can do to combat domestic terrorism. The report came out the day after a deadly rampage at three spas in the Atlanta area, killing eight people, including six women of Asian descent. The shooter’s motivations were not immediately clear, but crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders have been on the rise.

“Whatever the motivation here,” Mr. Biden told reporters on Wednesday, “I know that Asian-Americans are very concerned. Because as you know I have been speaking about the brutality against Asian-Americans for the last couple months, and I think it’s very, very troublesome.”

The Trump administration had added combating domestic terrorism to its National Strategy for Counterterrorism, but Mr. Trump was repeatedly reluctant to denounce the violent extremism carried out by far-right nationalists and white supremacists, sometimes embracing them and focusing his criticism instead on anarchists and other left-wing agitators.

Critics of Mr. Trump accused him of exploiting racial and socioeconomic divisions for political gain and fueling dangerous conspiracy theories that helped incite the events of Jan. 6, where hundreds of his supporters stormed the Capitol. The F.B.I. has charged more than 300 people in connection with the riots, including members of the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, far-right groups that backed Mr. Trump. Others charged include white supremacists.

The rise of domestic terrorism has gradually increased in recent years as the F.B.I. made fighting white supremacists a top priority in 2019 after a slew of deadly shootings in Texas, California and Pennsylvania. Last year, the F.B.I. raised the threat poised by antigovernment extremists such as militias and anarchists.

The F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, has been blunt about the dangers of domestic terrorism, telling Congress this month that the events of Jan. 6 were appalling.

“That siege was criminal behavior, plain and simple, and it’s behavior that we, the F.B.I., view as domestic terrorism,” Mr. Wray said during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, adding, “The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now and it’s not going away anytime soon.”

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