The FBI and Department of Homeland Security alerted congressional leaders to emerging threats involving domestic terrorism or extremism in the coming weeks, coinciding with Republican lawmakers potentially taking majority control of the House and then focusing on the overflow of migrants at the United States-Mexico border.
During Tuesday's annual hearing with the House Homeland Security Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas generally discussed the threats being detected by federal officials.
"We have seen a trend over the last several years of people more and more in this country when they're upset or angry about something, turning to violence as a way to manifest it. And that is a very, very dangerous trend," Wray said.
Mayorkas addressed the specter of "targeted violence" in certain parts of the country.
"The risk of targeted violence, perpetrated by actors abroad and at home, is substantial," he said. "Emerging technology platforms allow individuals and nation states to fan the flames of hate and personal grievances to large audiences and are encouraging people to commit violent acts."
Mayorkas added: "Those driven to violence are targeting critical infrastructure; soft targets; faith-based institutions; institutions of higher education; racial and religious minorities; government facilities and personnel, including law enforcement and the military; and perceived ideological opponents."
Mayorkas called potential domestic terrorists as "the greatest threat" to the well-being of the U.S.
Regarding terrorism concerns outside the U.S., Christine Abizaid, director of the National Counterterrorism Center at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, listed the ISIS-affiliated entities currently running Afghanistan.
"That's a group that has demonstrated very significant capability against the Taliban in Afghanistan right now. They have conducted some attacks outside of Afghanistan in the immediate environs, and I am worried about their ambition for greater and wider spread attacks," said Abizaid.
According to the Newsmax elections tracker, Republicans are one victory from reclaiming the House majority. If that happens, GOP leaders have already promised more investigative hearings into the Biden administration's handling of the southern border — including drug and human trafficking.
On Tuesday, Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., questioned the federal agencies' full commitment to eradicating drug trafficking at the border.
"We don't seem to be doing much about it. And frankly, I'm upset about that," said Gimenez.
"We seem to be focused on domestic violent extremists, which we should. We seem to be turning a blind eye to organizations that are killing tens of thousands of Americans. And we also seem to be doing not much about stopping the flow of this [fentanyl drug] coming into the United States through our southern border."
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