Monday, March 22, 2021

Not Even The FBI Director Can Play Along With The Atlanta Anti-Asian Racism Trope...,

npr  |  So obviously, it's a heartbreaking incident, and it hits particularly close to home for me since I consider Atlanta home. And so I certainly grieve for the victims and their families. The FBI is supporting state and local law enforcement, specifically APD, the Atlanta Police Department, and the [Cherokee County] Sheriff's Office. So we're actively involved but in a support role.

And while the motive remains still under investigation at the moment, it does not appear that the motive was racially motivated. But I really would defer to the state and local investigation on that for now.

I elevated racially motivated violent extremism to our top threat priority level about a year and a half ago or so. And I've been trying to call out this threat for a number of years now since I've been in this job.

We have doubled the number of domestic violent extremist investigations we've had since where they were when I started as director, and we were up to about 2,000. And that was before the Jan. 6 siege. So I expect the numbers to be even higher this year. And arrests likewise went up dramatically from 2019 to '20.

And so at the same time, the international terrorism threat — especially international terrorist organizations that inspire homegrown violent extremists here in the U.S. — hasn't gone away by any stretch of the imagination. So we clearly are making do right now with what we have. But we need and will need more resources to tackle that problem.

The sprawling investigation into Jan. 6

You know, I was appalled that something like that could happen in this country and determined to make sure that it doesn't happen ever again. ...

We intend to see this to its conclusion, no matter how many people it takes us to devote to it, no matter how long it takes us to do it, we're going to see it to the end. ... If we have the evidence to charge somebody and they committed a crime on that day, I expect them to be charged. ...

We've arrested people all over the country. I think we have ... open investigations specifically related to the Jan. 6 siege in all but one of our 56 field offices, which gives you a sense of the national sprawl of the investigation. And in some of those instances, there have already been conspiracy charges — small, I would call them — sort of small cells of individuals working together, coordinating their travel, etc. I don't think we've seen some national conspiracy, but we're going to keep digging.