News ID: 89921
Publish Date : 05 May 2021 - 20:32
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asked Congress on Tuesday to provide more funding for investigating and prosecuting domestic terrorism, saying it poses an "accelerating” threat that keeps him up at night.
Garland, who had served as a federal appellate judge and federal prosecutor before President Joe Biden nominated him to lead the Justice Department, was testifying about the department’s budget request for the 2022 fiscal year.
"We have a growing fear of domestic violent extremism and domestic terrorism,” Garland told a U.S. House of Representatives budgeting subcommittee. "Both of those keep me up at night.”
He did not name specific violent groups, but members of the far-right Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are among the more than 400 people arrested for the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by former President Donald Trump’s supporters.
The hearing marked Garland’s first appearance before Congress since being confirmed as the nation’s top law enforcement officer in March.
He told the House panel that the lethality of weapons available to both foreign and domestic terrorists has increased, and that the Justice Department is "putting its resources into defending the country with respect to both”.
"We have an emerging and accelerating threat,” Garland said.
He highlighted in his opening remarks that the Justice Department is requesting $85 million in additional funding from Congress to bolster its efforts to combat domestic terrorism.
Garland said the department is also seeking a "historic investment” of $1 billion in its Office of Violence Against Women, and that the budget proposal includes a $232 million increase in funding to help combat gun violence.
In Germany, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the country saw a big jump last year in politically motivated crimes, and offenses committed by far-right supporters hit a record high.
Far-right offenses were up nearly 6 percent from the previous year at 23,064, and accounted for more than half of all politically motivated crimes, the highest level since police started collecting such data in 2001.
Violent crimes classified as political in nature rose by nearly 20 percent year-on-year to 3,365 and included 11 murders and 13 attempted murders, Seehofer said.
"These numbers are very alarming mainly because a trend has been established over the last few years,” he said. "During the pandemic we observed a further polarization of the political discussion.”
Security is emerging as a key political issue ahead of a national election in September. German intelligence fears that far-right activists are trying to exploit public frustration over lockdowns imposed to halt the spread of COVID-19 to incite violence against state institutions. 
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