The FBI over the weekend released a call for Americans to report "suspicious behaviors" and "signs of mobilization to violence," in an effort to prevent "homegrown violent extremism."
The agency tweeted on Sunday: "Family members and peers are often best positioned to witness signs of mobilization to violence. Help prevent homegrown violent extremism. Visit https://go.usa.gov/x6mjf to learn how to spot suspicious behaviors and report them to the #FBI. #NatSec."
Included in the tweet is a link to an FBI document detailing "homegrown violent extremist mobilization indicators," which "are observable behaviors that could help determine whether individuals or groups are preparing to engage in violent extremist activities, such as conducting an attack or traveling overseas to join a foreign terrorist organization."
The document notes that the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the Department of Homeland Security "emphasize that many of the indicators described herein may involve constitutionally protected activities and might be insignificant on their own. However, when observed in combination with other suspicious behaviors, these indicators may raise suspicion in a reasonable person and constitute a basis for reporting.
"Law enforcement action should not be taken solely based on the exercise of constitutionally protected rights, or on the apparent or actual race, ethnicity, national origin or religion of the subject, or on any combination of these factors. Individuals are encouraged to contact law enforcement if, based on these indicators and the situational context, they suspect an individual is mobilizing to violence."
FBI Director Christopher Wray previously told lawmakers last March that "the problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now and it’s not going away anytime soon. At the FBI, we’ve been sounding the alarm on it for a number of years now."
He said last September, before testimony before legislators on the House Homeland Security Committee, that "within the domestic terrorism bucket, the category as a whole, racially motivated violent extremism is, I think, the biggest bucket within that larger group. And within the racially motivated violent extremist bucket, people subscribing to some kind of white supremacist-type ideology is certainly the biggest chunk of that."
Wray said, "Lately we've been having about 1,000 domestic terrorism cases each year. It is higher this year. I know we’ve had about 120 arrests for domestic terrorism this year."
Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.
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