Despite Trump’s denials, FBI Director Christopher Wray says right-wing racist terrorism is a major threat
and Antifa is not
FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress on Tuesday that the agency has seen an increase in the number of domestic terror arrests this fiscal year, a majority of which have been motivated by white supremacy.
Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the FBI has recorded about 100 domestic terrorism arrests in the last nine months. “A majority of the domestic terrorism cases we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence,” he told the panel.Wray said the number of the domestic terrorism arrests has increased and is now close to the number of international terrorism arrests the bureau has made.
Wray’s testimony followed a House Homeland Security Committee hearing in May, where FBI counterterrorism chief Michael McGarrity testified that the bureau was investigating 850 potential domestic terrorism cases. McGarrity said that nearly half of the cases involved racially motivated extremists, most of whom were white supremacists.
According to FBI Director Christopher Wray violent white supremacists are a domestic terrorist threat https://t.co/MVLt6hxCXt
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) September 17, 2020
During Tuesday’s hearing, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., pressed Wray on concerns that the bureau was not prioritizing white supremacist domestic terrorism under President Trump. Trump has previously said there were “fine people” marching with neo-Nazis during the Charlottesville violence of 2017 and denied that white nationalism was on the rise after a deadly attack at two New Zealand mosques killed 51 people.
While testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers that white supremacists are the largest group of racially motivated domestic terrorists. https://t.co/m7CLY3uNyq pic.twitter.com/yKUz2ny2kp
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) September 18, 2020
“There is a concern that this is not being taken as seriously as it should be as one of the real threats in our country,” Durbin told Wray.
FBI Director Christopher Wray warned a House committee yesterday about the growing threat of racially-motivated violent extremism—stating that white supremacists make up a majority of domestic terror threats. https://t.co/Oo0rycmvl6 @nytimes
— Integrity First for America (@IntegrityforUSA) September 18, 2020
“We take domestic terrorism or hate crime — regardless of ideology — extremely seriously, I can assure you, and we are aggressively pursuing it using both counterterrorism resources and criminal investigative resources and partnering closely with our state and local partners,” Wray replied.
Durbin questioned whether the bureau was treating homegrown terror threats as seriously as it treated international terrorism.
“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-Qaida, whatever it might be, and those who were inspired by white supremacy or at least some version of race,” Durbin said, before asking Wray if he considered them equal threats.
Wray said he did not, explaining that he believes homegrown violent terrorism was the single biggest threat to the country. Read more…
A short list of some White Supremacist terror killings in the US:
Oct. 9, 1995. An Amtrak employee is killed when a train derails near Hyder, Arizona because the track it’s traveling on has been sabotaged. The perpetrators are never found, but anti-law enforcement propaganda messages from the “Sons of Gestapo” are found near the scene.
April 12, 1996. A neo-Nazi named Larry Wayne Shoemake, who is found to have owned at least 22 firearms and an estimated 20,000 rounds of ammunition, kills a black man in a random Jackson, Mississippi attack.
July 27, 1996. A bomb set by Eric Robert Rudolph, who is affiliated with the “Christian Identity” fundamentalist movement, kills one person at the Atlanta Olympics.
Jan. 29, 1998. Another bomb set by Rudolph kills a man at a Birmingham abortion clinic.
May 29, 1998. Three militia sympathizers named Alan Pilon, Robert Mason and Jason McVean fire 29 shots at a Cortez, Colorado police officer who is trying to apprehend them because they’ve stolen a water truck, killing him. The three evade capture but are believed to ultimately have died in the desert wilderness surrounding the crime scene.
July 4, 1998. Several neo-Nazis murdered anti-racism activists Lin Newborn and Daniel Shersty in an ambush attack in the Las Vegas area.
Oct. 23, 1998. With his wife and children nearby, an abortion provider in Amherst, New York is shot and killed through the window of his home by James Charles Kopp.
July 1, 1999. Brothers Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams, who also have connections to the “Christian Identity” movement, kill a gay couple in Redding, California.
July 2–July 5 1999. Neo-Nazi Benjamin Nathaniel Smith kills black basketball coach Ricky Byrdsong and and a Korean graduate student and wounds nine other non-white victims in a three-day shooting spree.
Aug. 10, 1999. Neo-Nazi Buford Furrow kills a Filipino immigrant after firing 70 shots inside a Jewish community center near Los Angeles.
April 28, 2000. An unemployed immigration attorney named Richard Baumhammers who believes “non-white immigration” should be banned shoots and kills five people in the Pittsburgh area.
Sept. 15–Oct. 4, 2001. Mark Stroman, a lifelong criminal with connections to the Aryan Brotherhood, shoots three South Asian men in the Dallas area—killing two—in what he describes as revenge for 9/11.
Dec. 8, 2003. Steven Bixby kills two police officers in Abbeville, South Carolina during a dispute over the state’s decision to use a 20-foot strip of the Bixbys’ land to widen a highway.
May 24, 2004. Wade and Christopher Lay, a father-son pair obsessed with the 1993 government siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, kill a bank security guard in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
July 27, 2008. Jim David Adkisson shoots and kills two people during a childrens’ performance of a musical at a Unitarian Univeralist church in Knoxville, Tennessee, telling police that he intended to target individuals who had voted for liberals and Democrats.
Jan. 21, 2009. Neo-Nazi Keith Luke rapes and kills an immigrant from Cape Verde in Brockton, Massachusetts, then kills a 72-year-old homeless immigrant.
April 4, 2009. Richard Andrew Poplawski, a frequent poster on the white supremacist Stormfront website who apparently believes a national “gun ban” is imminent, kills three Pittsburgh police officers.
April 25, 2009. Joshua Cartwright kills two Okaloosa County, Florida sheriff’s deputies. Per a police report, Cartwright’s wife says he was paranoid about the U.S. government and “extremely disturbed” by Barack Obama’s election.
May 30, 2009. Shawna Forde, Albert Gaxiola, and Jason Bush kill a Latino man and his nine-year-old daughter in Arivaca, Arizona during a robbery intended to raise funds for the “Minutemen American Defense” group.
May 31, 2009. Scott Roeder kills Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, in the Wichita, Kansas Lutheran church where Tiller serves as an usher.
June 10, 2009. An 89-year-old white supremacist named James von Brunn kills a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. from point-blank range.
Feb. 18, 2010. Joseph Andrew Stack flies a plane into an Austin, Texas IRS office, killing one person.
May 20, 2010. A father-son pair named Jerry and Joseph Kane (who conduct “seminars” about how “sovereign citizens” can evade debt) kill two West Memphis, Arkansas police officers.
Sept. 26–Oct. 3, 2011. Avowed white supremacists David Joseph Pedersen and Holly Ann Grigsby kill Pedersen’s father and stepmother in Washington, a man they believe is Jewish in Oregon, and a black man in California.*
Aug. 5, 2012. A white supremacist named Wade Michael Page kills six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Aug. 16, 2012. “Sovereign citizen”-movement adherents Brian Smith and Kyle Joekel, who are now awaiting trial, allegedly kill two Louisiana sheriff’s deputies in a trailer-park ambush.
Sept. 4, 2012. Christopher Lacy, a software engineer who lives in a rural trailer and apparently sympathizes with the “sovereign citizen” movement, shoots a California Highway Patrol officer who dies the next day.
April 13, 2014. Frazier Glenn Miller, a 73-year-old with a long history of KKK activity, kills three people in the area of a Jewish community center and Jewish retirement community in Overland Park, Kansas.
June 8, 2014. Jerad and Amanda Miller kill two police officers in a random attack at a pizza restaurant in Las Vegas, then kill a customer at a Walmart. The Millers had spent time on Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s property during protests related to Bundy’s dispute with the federal government
Sept. 12, 2014. Eric Frein allegedly shoots and kills a Pennsylvania state trooper; he’s caught 48 days later after hiding from authorities in “survivalist” fashion in a rural area.
June 17, 2015. Dylann Roof murders nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
July 24, 2015. John Russell Houser, a 59-year-old man with a history of expressing extremist and anti-feminist beliefs, kills two women at a screening of the Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Nov. 27, 2015. A 57-year-old religious fanatic named Robert Lewis Dear shoots and kills three people, including a police officer, at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.
Aug. 10, 2016. A 38-year-old Oregon man with connections to a white supremacist prison gang drove over and killed a 19-year-old black man after a sidewalk altercation in what authorities are prosecuting as a hate crime.
March 20, 2017. A 28-year-old white supremacist named James Harris Jackson stabs a 66-year-old black stranger to death in midtown Manhattan.
May 26, 2017. Two men are stabbed to death on a light-rail train in Portland, Oregon by a “known local white supremacist” named Jeremy Joseph Christian.
Aug. 12, 2017. A white supremacist named James Fields Jr. attending the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, allegedly runs over and kills an anti-racism protester.
*Correction, Feb. 15, 2017: This post originally misstated that David Joseph Pedersen and Holly Ann Grigsby had killed Grigby’s father and stepmother.