In the wake of the Capitol assault, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced before lawmakers the creation of a controversial unit specialized in countering “domestic terrorism,” according to Deputy Attorney General Matthew Olsen.
“We have seen a growing threat from those who are motivated by racial animus, as well as those who ascribe to extremist anti-government and anti-authority ideologies,” Olsen testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee according to U.S. News on Jan. 11.
This issue has been a priority for the federal government and the White House especially since the demonstrations that included a disorderly entry into the Capitol in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2020.
However, months earlier, Democrats were already preparing bills to target these alleged domestic terrorism threats, which some felt were aimed at countering the effectiveness of the political advance of former President Donald Trump’s supporters.
On the other hand, author Eric Tucker stresses that the bias shown by the Biden administration toward domestic terrorism is legally ambiguous.
“But the issue remains politically freighted and divisive, in part because the absence of a federal domestic terrorism statute has created ambiguities as to precisely what sort of violence meets that definition.”
He added, “The U.S. criminal code defines domestic terrorism as violence intended to coerce or intimidate a civilian population and to influence government policy, but there is no standalone domestic terrorism charge, meaning prosecutors have to rely on other statutes.”
On the other hand, although the National Security Division, which Olsen heads, has a counter-terrorism section, he decided to create a specialized domestic terrorism unit to “ensure that these cases are properly handled and effectively coordinated” across the country.
So far, Democratic lawmakers have focused on the riots on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, which resulted in the death of only one veteran, Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by a member of law enforcement.
But Republicans point out the stark contrast between these events and the seven months of rioting caused by the Marxist Black Lives Matter group and Antifa during the summer of 2020, which caused destruction and several deaths.
In this regard, Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Tex.), said the prosecution initiated by the authorities for the Capitol events has been based on “wildly disparate standards” in relation to the treatment given to the suspects of the 2020 riots.
Likewise, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), showed a video of the 2020 violence as a counterpart to the Jan. 6 footage shown by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill), in the same session in which Olsen announced his offensive against domestic terrorism on Jan. 11, 2021.
“Those anti-police riots rocked our nation for seven full months,” Grassley said, according to U.S. News.
Additionally, all indications are that the FBI was involved with the raid on Capitol Hill, about which Cruz persistently inquired, without getting answers.
“The American people deserve transparency from the DOJ and FBI on Jan. 6,” Cruz tweeted on Tuesday after the hearing.
“For months, I’ve been demanding answers and to this day, their answers are: “I’m not sure”—”I don’t have the numbers”—”I don’t have any information on that,” the senator complained.