FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers on Tuesday that the majority of the arrests his team has made this year related to domestic terrorism have been motivated by white supremacist ideology.
“In terms of the number of arrests, we have through the third quarter of this fiscal year, we had about 100 arrests on the international terrorism side, which includes the homegrown violent terrorism,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. “But we’ve also had just about the same number, again, don’t quote me to the exact digit, but on the domestic terrorism side and I will say, that a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we’ve investigated, are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence, it includes other things as well.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) called the numbers “significant” in light of the ongoing dialogue about race in the U.S. following President Trump’s racist attacks on four congresswomen of color over the last several days.
“I think this is significant,” Durbin said. “I do not not want to diminish the work you’re doing when it comes to homegrown domestic terrorism … But what you have just said is significant, if the number of people arrested this calendar year when it comes to this extremist conduct, is about equal between those who were inspired by foreign actors, ISIS, al-Qaeda, whatever it might be, and those who were inspired by white supremacy or at least some version of race.”
Durbin added: “We are having a national conversation about race that we haven’t had in a long time — about racism and the reaction, what is acceptable and what is not.”When Durbin asked if the two could be considered equal threats, Wray said no, calling homegrown violent terrorism the single biggest threat to the U.S.
Watch the exchange here.