The FBI investigation into whether the Nashville bombing was a terrorist act has prompted criticism about a possible racial double standard and drawn questions from business owners whose insurance coverage could be affected by the bureau’s assessment, reports the Associated Press. The FBI has resisted labeling the incident an act of terrorism, an indication that evidence gathered so far does not establish that the bomber was motivated by political ideology, a key factor in any formal declaration of terrorism. Investigators are known to be reviewing whether Anthony Warner believed in conspiracy theories involving aliens and 5G cellphone technology. Warner died in the Christmas Day explosion of a recreational vehicle that also wounded three other people.
“When we assess an event for domestic terrorism nexus, it has to be tied to an ideology. It’s the use of force or violence in the furtherance of a political or social ideology or event. We haven’t tied that yet,” said FBI agent Doug Korneski. The FBI investigates two types of terrorism that are defined not by the ethnicity or background of the suspect but by the person’s motivation or ideology. International terrorism involves acts by people inspired by, or acting at the direction of, foreign terrorist organizations. Domestic terrorism involves politically motivated violence intended to further a particular cause or agenda. Some local leaders have raised concerns about the terrorism designation, arguing that authorities would have acted differently if Warner had not been a white man. “To those bending over backward to not call this an act of terror, if Warner had been a Muslim/immigrant/black, will you say the same thing or will you be one of the millions condemning not just him but his entire community?” tweeted Nashville City Council member Zulfat Suara.