Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Christopher Wray testified Wednesday during a Senate Committee hearing on Homeland Security Governmental Affairs regarding threats to the Washington, DC. Among those threats are 1,000 investigations of suspected white supremacists or other types of domestic terrorists who are likely planning some kind of violence.
The hearing marked recently appointed head of the FBI Christopher A. Wray's first congressional testimony since taking his new position. Director Wray confirmed the FBI has 1,000 inquiries categorized as "domestic terrorism." Previously, the FBI said they had about 1,000 ongoing investigations of suspects in the United States who are inspired to violence by the Islamic State terrorist group. Wednesday's hearing confirmed the FBI is holding a similar number of domestic terror cases but these ones involving white supremacists.
Wray told the Senate Committee, "We’re very busy." Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, asked if there was any difference in the way they handled white supremacist terrorism cases compared to Islamic State terrorism cases. Wray confirmed there are no differences, besides the way that criminal laws may be applied.
The main difference is that federal law makes it a crime to provide material to support a foreign terrorist group, however there is no corresponding law regarding supporting a white supremacist terror group. Wray went on to explain, "In most ways they’re similar, probably the biggest difference is there’s not a domestic terrorism offense as such."
The debate about the lack of such a law was reignited when the suspected white supremacist in Charlottesville plowed into protesters with his vehicle, resulting in the death of one woman and the injury of dozens of others. Wray revealed less of a worry about such cases, and more of a concern with terrorists using drones to conduct attacks in the United States in the same way the military does overseas.
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