The Department of Justice is establishing a new unit on domestic terrorism, the department’s top national security official announced Tuesday.
Matthew Olsen, the assistant attorney general for national security, made the announcement to lawmakers, noting that the number of domestic terror investigations launched by the FBI has more than doubled since March of 2020, per The Hill.
The Justice Department already has a counterterrorism unit designed to handle both international and domestic cases.
“I decided to establish a domestic terrorism unit to augment our existing approach,” Olsen said. “This group of dedicated attorneys will focus on the domestic terrorism threat, helping to ensure that these cases are handled properly and effectively coordinated across the Department of Justice and across the country.”
“We’ve seen a growing threat from those who are motivated by racial animus as well as those who ascribe to extremist anti-government and anti-authority ideologies,” he continued.
The announcement comes after a Department of Homeland Security memo on the anniversary of January 6th warning of increased chatter on extremist online platforms.
“DHS and FBI have identified new content online that could inspire violence, particularly by lone offenders, and could be directed against political and other government officials, including members of Congress, state and local officials, and high-profile members of political parties,” the memo, written by DHS head of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis John Cohen, said.