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DOJ unveils new domestic terror unit, says threats rising a year after Jan. 6


Matthew G. Olsen is the nominee to be Assistant Attorney General of National Security. He spoke at a hearing on Capitol Hill with members from Senate Select Intelligence Committee, July 20, 2021, Washington DC.

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On Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced that it will form a unit for domestic terrorism. This comes as national security officials warned of “persistent” and evolving threats of violent extremism in the U.S.

It was announced days following the anniversary of Jan. 6, 2016, when hundreds of ex-Trump supporters stormed Capitol building, forcing lawmakers to flee their rooms, temporarily stopping the transfer to President Joe Biden.

Matthew Olsen assistant attorney general, national security division of the DOJ said that FBI and the DOJ made clear that the attack against the Capitol was being investigated as a domestic terrorist act. It is appropriate to investigate the attack on Capitol under the provisions of the Constitution, he said. definition of domestic terrorismFederal criminal law

Olsen said that the new domestic terror unit will be “to supplement our existing approach”, during an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on domestic terror threats after the Capitol riot.

Olsen explained that the dedicated group of attorneys would focus on the domestic terror threat and will help ensure that cases are effectively and properly coordinated throughout the Department of Justice.

Olsen pointed out that, since spring 2020, more than twice as many FBI investigations have been opened to investigate domestic terrorists.

Jill Sanborn (executive assistant director of FBI’s national safety branch) told senators during the hearing that while the threat of domestic terrorist attack is “persistent, evolving”, foreign threats still remain the focus of the government.

Sanborn claimed that domestic terror threat is most likely to come from “soft targets” such as small groups or individuals who become radicalized online.

Sanborn stated that the two main types of domestic violence extremism are antigovernment extremism (racial extremism) and white supremacist extremism. White supremacist Extremists and Antigovernment Extremists are the FBI’s most deadly threats, Sanborn stated.

The DOJ’s Jan. 6th invasion investigation is its biggest criminal investigation ever. More than 725 individuals were arrested and charged with in the connection to the riot. According to the DOJ, the FBI continues to search for more than 350 people it suspects committed violence at Capitol. More than 250 may also have assaulted police officers.

As with many issues on Capitol Hill the politics surrounding Capitol riot are a source of increasing partisanpolarization. Republicans that allied themselves with Trump are still the GOP’s de facto leader and have complained about the House select committee on the riot. Other members of the GOP tried to minimize the incident or make it synonymous with the violence against the police that took place during and after the protests against racism and brutality that broke out across the country last summer 2020.

Ted Cruz, Republican Senator, is a member the Judiciary Panel. He appeared on Fox News. last week to apologizeFollowing criticism from the right about calling Jan. 6 “violent terror attack”,

CNBC’s Sevanny campos contributed to the report.