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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.

FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly COVID antibody treatments

A coldbox containing monoclonal antibody treatments at a Regeneron clinic in Pembroke Pines, Florida, in August. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The FDA said Monday it's limiting the use of two monoclonal antibody therapies as COVID-19 treatments because data indicates they're "highly unlikely" to be effective against the dominant Omicron variant.

Driving the news: The FDA revised the authorizations for Regeneron and Eli Lilly "to limit their use to only when the patient is likely to have been infected with or exposed to a variant that is susceptible to these treatments," per a statement from the agency.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

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