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Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Sept. 21. Photo: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before a Senate committee Tuesday that the agency's domestic terrorism caseload has "exploded" in size since spring of 2020.

Why it matters: The Jan. 6 Capitol riot refocused attention on the issue of domestic terrorism and security, but Wray's testimony points to a trend that pre-dates the insurrection.

The big picture: In his testimony, Wray explained that there are two primary groups of threats the bureau focuses on – homegrown violent extremists radicalized by foreign terrorist organizations and ideologies, and domestic violent extremists, who are radicalized by racial hatred or anti-government sentiments.

  • Wray said that while the amount of homegrown violent extremists has remained fairly steady over the past few years, the number of domestic violent extremists has been rising exponentially since the spring of 2020.
  • "For the past 16, 18 months or so, we have more than doubled our domestic terrorism caseload from about 1,000 to around 2,700 investigations," Wray said, adding that "we have surged personnel to match, more than doubling the amount of people working that threat than the year before."
  • “Certainly, the domestic terrorism caseload has exploded, and meanwhile the international terrorism caseload hasn’t subsided,” he added during questioning.

Of note: Wray added that recent events in Afghanistan could also increase the rate of homegrown violent extremists.

  • "So I think we anticipate, unfortunately, growth in both categories as we look ahead over the next couple of years," he said.

Go deeper

COVID-era criminals go free: Prosecutors dismiss cases as backlog mounts

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

The pandemic slowed the criminal justice system to a crawl in much of the U.S., and now an increase in violent crime is straining the system even further.

Why it matters: COVID-19 has caused backlogs in criminal cases across the U.S. to swell, forcing district attorneys to focus on the most violent offenses — and decline, delay or deal down a slew of other cases.

1 hour ago - Sports

Unvaccinated athletes face 21-day quarantine at Beijing Olympics

Logos for the 2022 Winter Olympics at Yanqing Ice Festival in February 2021 in Beijing. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Athletes, staff members and journalists at the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus will be required to quarantine for three weeks, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) outlined in its newly-published "playbooks."

Why it matters: The quarantine period is longer than the Games themselves, meaning vaccinations or an earlier arrival date will be required to participate in or cover the Games.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

FTX CEO predicts more U.S. crypto flight

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

FTX doesn't look much like a company valued at $25 billion. Its new headquarters, located in a sleepy part of The Bahamas, is so nondescript as to not even have a sign. But it does expect to soon have neighbors.

Driving the news: Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" to expect "more and more crypto flight from the states" if the U.S. doesn't soon create a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.

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