Story at a glance:

  • Far-right extremist attacks and plots outnumber those from the left.
    • White supremacists attacking the Capitol building is not seen as a one-off, but as trend, according to one expert.
    • A nonpartisan group focusing on national security issues has recorded nearly 1,000 domestic terror plots and attacks since 1994.

Domestic terrorist plots and attacks in the United States have skyrocketed to the highest rates recorded in a quarter-century, according to an analysis by The Washington Post and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). 

CSIS, a nonpartisan nonprofit that specializes in national security issues, has been monitoring extremism since 1994. There have been 267 plots or attacks and 91 fatalities since 2015, most of which came from the far right.

Left-wing extremists made up 66 incidents, which led to 19 deaths.

In 2020 alone, far-right extremists committed 73 domestic terrorist incidents, an all-time high record. In total, CSIS has recorded nearly 1,000 incidents since 1994. 


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Some attacks are harder to decipher, whether it is left or right. However, The Post uses the attackers' court records, social media postings, news accounts and other material from local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to “refine the types of extremism involved in each case,” reporters wrote. 

Predominantly Black churches have been attacked and vandalized at least 15 times in the past six years, one of which was the New Shiloh Christian Center in Melbourne, Fla. The church was set on fire three times in early 2015, and there were no suspects.

On the far-left, 25 crimes were committed in 2020, including at least seven incidents targeting the police with guns, firebombs and graffiti.

The Post stated left-leaning crimes were during national protests in response to George Floyd's murder.

“What is most concerning is that the number of domestic terror plots and attacks are at the highest they have been in decades,” CSIS director of the database project Seth Jones said. “It’s so important for Americans to understand the gravity of the threat before it gets worse.”

“January 6 was not an isolated event,” FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 2. “The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now and it’s not going away anytime soon.”


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Published on Apr 12, 2021