The justice department acknowledged that statistics showing an increase in the rate of domestic terrorism-related cases over the past two years can largely be attributed to the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021.
“That number includes the January 6 cases, and there, of course, we have over 800 arrests of individuals — not all of them qualify as domestic violent extremists, to be clear, but many are,” the official said. Assistant Attorney General Matt Olsen. said during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last week. “These account for at least a significant portion of that jump over the past two years in the number of investigations.”
The remarks come as some critics have accused the FBI and the DOJ to deliberately inflate the number of domestic terrorism cases to appease the Biden administration, which has said domestic terrorism poses the “greatest threat” facing the country.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, sent a letter to FBI Director Chris Wray last week demanding answers after he said “brave whistleblowers” had come to him with information indicating the agency inflated the number of cases of domestic extremism.
“From recent protected disclosures, we learned that FBI officials are pressuring agents to reclassify cases as ‘domestic violent extremism’ even though the cases do not meet the criteria for such classification,” wrote Jordan in the letter. “Given the narrative pushed by the Biden administration that domestic violent extremism is the ‘greatest threat’ facing our country, the revelation that the FBI may be artificially populating domestic terrorism data is outrageous.”
Wray testified before the House Judiciary Committee last year that the FBI had “doubled the number of domestic terrorism investigations,” apparently lending credence to President Biden’s argument that domestic terrorism posed a growing “deadly threat” to national security.
During his testimony last week, Olsen said that “the number of FBI investigations into suspected domestic violent extremism has more than doubled since the spring of 2020,” but he could not specify by how much that increase. was due to the arrests of January 6 suspects.
“I don’t have a specific number on that,” he said.