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March 14, 2019

Chairman Thompson: Administration Stonewalling Domestic Terrorism Oversight

(WASHINGTON) – Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to the Attorney General and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to demand the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI brief the Committee on Homeland Security on the evolving threat of domestic terrorism. After Congress has ignored the issue of domestic terrorism for years, the Committee plans to hold hearings on this issue in the coming months.  This request comes after other requests – some in writing – have gone unanswered.  Since the beginning of the Congress, both the FBI and DOJ have been uncooperative on this issue.  

Letter text:

For over a decade, the Committee on Homeland Security has worked closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to address the most pressing threats to our homeland. Recent high-profile acts of violence and attempted violence have underscored the urgency of understanding and developing solutions to the evolving threat of domestic terrorism. Indeed, recent internal FBI data show more domestic terrorism-related arrests than international terrorism-related arrests in both FY 2017 and FY 2018.  As domestic terrorist movements continue to grow and metastasize, it is my hope that the Committee can continue to work closely with DOJ and FBI on this matter.

To that end, during the Committee’s February 14, 2019, Monthly Threats briefing, I requested a briefing on domestic terrorism for Members of the Committee. Despite receiving adequate notice, your staff has still not confirmed a briefing date.

Regrettably, this is just the latest example of non-cooperation on this important issue. On February 7, 2019, I sent a joint letter with the Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary requesting a briefing no later than March 8, 2019, on the decision to discontinue FBI’s Terrorism report. The report provided a broad, comprehensive overview of the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts, including its response to domestic terrorist activities. My office has not received a response to the letter to date.

Therefore, I am writing to request a classified briefing for the Committee on March 27, 2019, at 10:00 a.m., to answer questions regarding DOJ and FBI’s work to address domestic terrorism. Please be advised I also plan to call a hearing on the issue subsequent to the briefing.

I hope that the briefing and hearing will serve as the first of many opportunities for the Committee to collaborate with DOJ and FBI on responding to domestic terrorism and better securing the homeland. Thank you for your cooperation.

Link to Letter

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978