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The director of the FBI says domestic terrorism cases have “mushroomed” in the US in the past year, and that a highly anticipated report on the issue had been delayed by an explosion in cases, as well as Covid.
Chris Wray, during an appearance in front of the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, said that a long awaited report on the rise of right-wing terror in the US was set back by Covid and a mushrooming of incidents in the past 12 months.
"Certainly, I recognise that the earlier report took longer to get to you than it should have," Mr Wray told the committee, while admitting that the format of previous reports was no longer suited to the current situation.
"Some of that, in all fairness, was in part due to the pandemic,” Mr Wray said of the delay to the report, “but also working on the significant domestic terrorism caseload that as I testified a few minutes ago mushroomed last year."
That followed an admission in front of the US Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday, in which Mr Wray said cases of domestic terrorism had more than doubled since 2020.
The FBI director the figure had gone “from about 1,000 to around 2,700 investigations” in about 12 months, and that the number of people working on domestic terrorism for the FBI had also more than doubled.
As reported by HuffPost on Tuesday, Mr Wray acknowledged that domestic terrorism was rising in the US before the 6 January riot on the Capitol, which led to an “explosion” in cases.
So far, more than 600 alleged rioters have been arrested and charged, and most are awaiting trial in connection with the attack on the country’s legislature, which highlighted concerns about right-wing terror in the US.
Mr Wray, who was appointed in 2017 to head the FBI, called the 6 January riot an act of “domestic terrorism”.
In June, the Biden administration released a 30-page plan to counter domestic terrorism which called for greater information sharing between federal and local officials and social media firms, as well as additional resources to identify and prosecute threats, and deter Americans from belonging to terrorist groups.
Additional reporting by Reuters