FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday told lawmakers that the Buffalo supermarket and Texas elementary school mass shootings ''reinforced what we in the FBI have been so concerned about for so long, and that is the threat of lone actors.''
''It's that threat that we continue to be most concerned about here in the homeland,'' he added.
A ''lone actor'' or ''lone wolf'' is someone who individually prepares or commits acts of violence in support of an ideology, group or movement, but who is acting outside of the command structure and without the assistance of any group, according to NATO.
The Department of Justice and FBI have not used the term ''lone wolf'' in statements about the gunmen in Texas or New York. But Wray used the term on Wednesday in a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee during a review of the agency's budget.
A joint report released last year by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned that loan wolf actors posed the greatest terror threat.
''The greatest terrorism threat to the homeland we face today is posed by lone offenders, often radicalized online, who look to attack soft targets with easily accessible weapons. Many of these violent extremists are motivated and inspired by a mix of socio-political goals and personal grievances against their targets,'' the two agencies wrote.
According to the report, 2019 ''represented the most lethal year'' for domestic attacks by violent extremists since 1995.
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