The FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), which represents more than 14,000 active and former bureau agents, called on Congress Tuesday to make domestic terrorism 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 statement came in the wake of two mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that between them killed at least 31 people.
The suspect in the El Paso shooting has been tied to a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto posted online shortly before the attack.
The incidents have also led to scrutiny of what critics say is insufficient focus by the Trump administration on the threat posed by white supremacist violence.
In letters Monday, Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonFBI agents association calls on Congress to make ‘domestic terrorism’ a federal crime Senators renew request for domestic threats documents from FBI, DOJ after shootings Hillicon Valley: GOP hits back over election security bills | Ratcliffe out for intel chief | Social media companies consider policies targeting ‘deepfakes’ | Capital One, GitHub sued over breach MORE (R-Wis.) and Gary PetersGary Charles PetersFBI agents association calls on Congress to make ‘domestic terrorism’ a federal crime Senators renew request for domestic threats documents from FBI, DOJ after shootings Overnight Defense: Dems talk Afghanistan, nukes at Detroit debate | Senate panel advances Hyten nomination | Iranian foreign minister hit with sanctions | Senate confirms UN ambassador MORE (D-Mich.) asked FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Humanist case for abolishing the death penalty Senators renew request for domestic threats documents from FBI, DOJ after shootings Judge questions Barr’s handling of Mueller findings MORE 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.