The FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), which represents more than 14,000 active and former bureau agents, wrote an impassioned letter calling on Congress Tuesday to formally label acts of violence “intended to intimidate” specific populations as “domestic terrorism” and a federal crime.
“Domestic terrorism is a threat to the American people and our democracy. Acts of violence intended to intimidate civilian populations or to influence or affect government policy should be prosecuted as domestic terrorism regardless of the ideology behind them,” FBIAA President Brian O’Hare said in a statement.
“FBIAA continues to urge Congress to make domestic terrorism a federal crime. This would ensure that FBI Agents and prosecutors have the best tools to fight domestic terrorism,” he added.
The FBI Agents Association is renewing its call to make domestic terrorism a federal crime, in order to give agents the tools they need to combat this threat. https://t.co/OISRZEniT2
— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) August 6, 2019
The statement came in the wake of two mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed at least 31 people.
Federal authorities believe the suspect in the El Paso shooting posted a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto posted online minutes before the attack. The hate-filled screed also invoked key phrases and ideologies used by President Trump.
In letters Monday, Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) asked FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General William Barr for further information on how they track, categorize and share domestic terror-related information, noting that they failed to respond to an earlier letter in May.
“Since the date of our request, there have been numerous mass attacks, including Virginia Beach, VA; Gilroy, CA; El, Paso, TX; and Dayton, OH. … These continued mass attacks make it clear that the federal government has more work to do in preventing domestic terrorism,” the two wrote.