Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening remarks, as prepared, during a Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security hearing on "The Rise of Domestic Terrorism in America":
"I thank Chairwoman Sheila Jackson Lee for holding this important and timely hearing. Domestic terrorism continues to be a serious and lethal threat to our country, and we must do more to stop it.
"Much of this threat is driven by racially motivated hate and animus toward religious minorities. Sadly, many domestic terrorist attacks have taken place through mass shootings, such as the 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, where a gunman targeted Mexican American shoppers.
"This mass shooting joins other attacks perpetrated by domestic terrorists, including the attack at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the mass murder at the Tree of Life synagogue, among a tragic list of others.
"Violent extremism also touched the halls of our Capitol on January 6th, resulting in death and destruction. It is clear that the mob that attacked us that terrible day included significant representation from white nationalists, among other hate-fueled groups.
"We must ensure that our law enforcement resources and priorities are properly directed at this dangerous and growing threat.
"The FBI's annual Hate Crime Statistics Act report found in 2019—the last year that statistics are available—that there were 7,314 hate crimes, up from 7,120 the year before. These numbers, which hardly show the pain and anguish these attacks brought, is sadly near a record high.
"FBI Director Christopher Wray also testified that 2019 was the deadliest year for domestic extremist violence since the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995. And senior FBI officials have noted that 'racially-motivated violent extremists are responsible for the majority of lethal attacks and fatalities perpetrated by domestic terrorists since 2000.'
"But to truly understand what is driving this increase in hate crimes, and the link to violent extremists, we still need better and more comprehensive data. The FBI should simplify its data reporting, which must include reliable information from all jurisdictions. And this information should be shared with Congress and the American people in a clear format so that we can better focus resources on the domestic terror threats at hand.
"We also need to ensure that, once informed by the proper data, we dedicate resources towards addressing the greatest threats.
"That is why I support the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act—a bipartisan measure introduced to do just that. This legislation, of which I am an original cosponsor, would create offices within the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI to monitor, investigate and prosecute cases of domestic terrorism. These newly created offices would be required to focus their resources, based on the data collected, on the most significant threats.
"Domestic violent extremism is not a new phenomenon, but it has become super-charged in recent years. We have seen a surge in hate-filled extremist groups, driven by conspiracy theories based in racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, which has been fueled by success in online recruiting and organizing. When combined with violence, they form a toxic stew that must be met with the resources necessary to address this threat.
"We must renew and reinforce our effort against this scourge by marshaling the resources and authorities we already have so that we are more effective in this endeavor. I am particularly interested in hearing the recommendations of our witnesses today about how we can best do that.
"I thank the Chair, and I yield back the balance of my time."