The Justice Department is forming a unit that would be focused on domestic terrorism to help fight rising threats that that has increased significantly in recent years.

Matthew G. Olsen of DOJ announced the plans to create the new unit in his opening remarks before the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to a Washington Post report.

The head of the Justice Department's national security division noted that the number of Federal Bureau of Investigation investigations of suspected domestic violent extremists had more than doubled since the spring of 2020.

Olsen said that the DOJ had already imposed counterterrorism measures for both domestic and international causes.

He further noted that the threats they saw stemmed from racial, extremist anti-government, and anti-authority ideologies.

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Justice Department's Domestic Terrorism Unit

The creation of the new unit highlights the extent of domestic violent extremism, which has attracted urgent attention inside the federal government and at the White House, according to an ABC News Go report.

Jill Sanborn testified alongside Olsen. The FBI official is the executive assistant director of the agency's national security unit.

Sanborn noted that the greatest threat comes from lone extremists or small cells who look forward to carrying out the attacks.

Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois played a video of the January 6 riot at the start of the hearing.

Meanwhile, several Republican senators had tried to shift the focus away from January 6 and asserted that the insurrection had taken away attention from the 2020 riot that erupted in states.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa showed a video of anti-police riots to counter the January 6 footage showed.

Grassley said that the anti-police riots had "rocked our nation for seven full months."

The Biden administration has sought to put priority on an effort to combat domestic terrorism.

The White House released the country's first national strategy to fight domestic terrorism, according to an NPR report.

Attorney General Merrick Garland described the January 6 probe as one of the biggest and most resource-intensive in U.S. history.

Domestic Terrorism in The U.S.

The FBI director, Christopher Wray, told Congress that the January 6 incident was not an isolated event, adding that the problem of domestic terrorism has been growing across the country for a number of years, according to The Guardian report.

Wray said that white supremacists create the biggest chunk of the domestic terrorism portfolio overall.

The FBI director said that they have been responsible for the most lethal attacks over the last decade.

Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union national security project, said that it is undeniable that federal law enforcement has underplayed and misunderstood the level of white supremacist violence.

The New America think tank in Washington D.C. reported that the far-right extremists killed 114 people after analyzing the 251 killings perpetrated by U.S. domestic terrorists since 9/11.

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Written by: Mary Webber

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