Olsen said the Justice Department already had counterterrorism attorneys who worked both domestic and international cases, and that the new unit would “augment our existing approach” to prosecuting those cases.
His testimony comes just a few days after the anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, which some lawmakers view as evidence that the FBI was not taking sufficiently seriously the threat posed by domestic extremists and violence-prone members of far-right groups.
Olsen said the intelligence community had determined that “we face an elevated threat from domestic violent extremists — that is, individuals in the United States who seek to commit violent criminal acts in furtherance of domestic social or political goals.”
“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,” Olsen said.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) opened the hearing with a video showing footage and news coverage from the riot, taking aim at Republicans for not being fully supportive of congressional efforts to investigate the attack.
“They are normalizing the use of violence to achieve political goals,” Durbin said.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) countered with a video showing footage of riots the previous summer at racial justice protests around the country.
See FULL STORY at Washington Post.