FBI Reports White Nationalists as Much a Threat to US as ISIS

A White Nationalist demonstration in Charlottesville, VA.

A White Nationalist demonstration in Charlottesville, VA.

By MCNS Staff

There is just as large a threat of white nationalist violence in the US as that posed by the Islamic State (ISIS) and similar groups, the FBI suggested Wednesday. But some US Senators notice a difference in the collection of information on the groups that may suggest white nationalism puts America in even greater danger than international groups labeled as terrorist organizations.

Director Chris Wray told the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee that there are currently 1,000 open investigations into domestic terrorist groups and another 1,000 inquiries into groups with Islamist ideology, according to Newsweek.

But the similar numbers were a point of contention on the panel, with several objecting to what they see as a double standard in how white supremacist attacks are investigated, compared with those carried out by people who identify with Islamist ideologies.

Some committee members feel that the numbers aren’t adding up, and that they may indicate that white nationalists are an even bigger threat than suggested by the FBI.

National outlets report that the number of attacks carried out by white supremacists were “almost triple” those of those carried out by people who identified with groups such as ISIS, said Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri. And government data obtained by The Hill suggests the number of white supremacist attacks compared to those from radical Islamist groups was as many as two to one.

“We have had zero hearings on the threat of domestic terrorists and the threat they pose and our response to it,” McCaskill explained, pointing to the number of hearings about ISIS, but none on white supremacists.

It would seem that white nationalism is no more of a priority for the FBI than threats from international terrorist organizations.

“We take both of them very, very seriously,” The Hill reported Wray as saying. “Our focus is on violence and threats of violence against the people of this country. That’s our concern; it’s not ideology.”

Wray also explained that domestic and international terrorism is investigated differently, with crimes such as shooting typically classified as terrorism only if there is a link with an international organization or ideology, according to Newsweek.

“A lot of the [domestic terrorism] cases we bring, we’re able to charge under gun charges, explosive charges, all manner of other crimes,” Wray explained.

“We also work a lot with state and local law enforcement who can sometimes bring straightforward, easy-to-make cases; homicide cases, things like that,” he added.

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