Homeland Security Committee chair asks FBI for monthly briefings on domestic terrorism

Homeland Security Committee chair asks FBI for monthly briefings on domestic terrorism
© Aaron Schwartz

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonChad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary Senators urge Trump to fill vacancies at DHS Hillicon Valley: TikTok faces lawmaker anger over China ties | FCC formally approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Silicon Valley lawmakers introduce tough privacy bill | AT&T in M settlement with FTC MORE (D-Miss.) said Tuesday that the panel needs monthly briefings from the FBI on domestic terror threats and Chinese counterintelligence.

The letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray cites Wray's own testimony in late July that the bureau made more domestic terrorism arrests in the first three quarters of fiscal  2019 than in all of fiscal 2018 and that the majority of the 100 cases involved white supremacists.

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Meanwhile, Thompson wrote, U.S. companies have raised concerns regarding Chinese intellectual property theft, accusing the nation of costing U.S. firms up to $600 billion a year from the theft, which the letter calls “troubling.”

“Given the scale of the counterintelligence threat China poses to our homeland, and the volume of domestic terrorism attacks and arrests in this country, I write to ask the FBI to stop stonewalling these and other important issues germane to the security of our homeland,” Thompson wrote.

“It is imperative that Committee Members stay regularly informed of threats to our homeland, including any relevant investigations,” he added.

The letter comes days after a gunman killed at least 22 people in El Paso, Texas. The suspect has been tied to a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto that railed against a Hispanic “invasion,” according to law enforcement.

On Tuesday, the FBI announced it was investigating a separate shooting that occurred the previous weekend at a festival in Gilroy, Calif., as potential domestic terrorism, saying a “target list” had been compiled by the alleged shooter.

"Due to the discovery of the target list ... the FBI has opened a full domestic terrorism investigation," San Francisco agent in charge John Bennett said. "We are still looking for the motive in this crime, but due to the information we have uncovered, we are opening a full domestic terrorism investigation."

A third shooting in Dayton, Ohio, killed at least nine people in the early hours of Sunday morning, but police said they have not found a political or racial motivation for the attack.