The Justice Department is creating a unit to fight domestic terrorism to confront the increased threat of violent extremism, with the number of F.B.I. investigations of suspects accused of domestic extremism more than doubling since the spring of 2020, reports the New York Times. A group of lawyers will now be dedicated to the domestic threat and ensure that cases will be “handled properly and effectively coordinated” across the agency and federal law enforcement, acting alongside the national security division’s own counterterrorism team.
In its budget proposal for spring 2022, the Justice Department requested an additional $101 million to address domestic terrorism, including $45 million for the FBI and $40 million that federal prosecutors can use to manage their increasing domestic terrorism caseloads. According to Jill Sanborn, executive assistant director of the F.B.I.’s national security branch, the two most dangerous types of domestic extremists, are driven either by racial or ethnic beliefs, oftentimes “advocating for the superiority of the white race,” or by antigovernment sentiment from members of militia or anarchist groups. While racially motivated extremists were the primary source of lethal domestic extremist attacks in 2018 and 2019, according to F.B.I. data, in 2020, militia and anarchist groups were responsible for three of the four lethal domestic extremist attacks.