Analysis: FBI arrests more domestic terror suspects than international extremists

Analysis: FBI arrests more domestic terror suspects than international extremists
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The FBI arrested more people suspected of domestic terrorism than people allegedly tied to or inspired by international extremist groups, according to an analysis by The Washington Post released Saturday.

There were 110 people arrested on suspicion of being inspired by foreign terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and al Qaeda during the 2017 budget year, figures shared with the newspaper showed.

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About 30 of those people faced terrorism charges in 2017, a figure that dropped to only nine last year.

In comparison, law enforcement officials said FBI investigations led to the arrest of about 150 domestic terrorism suspects in 2017.

The figure in 2018 was about 120, according to the Post.

Federal law does not designate domestic groups as terrorist organizations, so none of the defendants were charged with terrorism.

More domestic terrorism suspects are being arrested across the country, and one in four counterterrorism suspects are detained by state and local authorities, a senior law enforcement official told the newspaper.

The majority of the people arrested as a result of FBI terrorism investigations are charged with nonterrorism offenses, according to the data.

“You’re going to arrest someone with whatever charges you have to negate the threat. The FBI doesn’t need to pad stats on terrorism if it means getting a terrorist off the streets,” Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, said.

The Post analysis comes weeks after Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson was arrested with a stockpile of weapons and a political “hit list” that targeted politicians and journalists.

Hasson, a self-proclaimed white nationalist, is accused of espousing extremest views and calling for the use of violence to “establish a white homeland.”

He was first arrested on gun and drug charges but has not faced terrorism charges yet.