FBI director Christopher Wray told senators that lone wolf terrorists are the FBI’s highest counterterrorist priority. He said there are another 1,000 probes into “domestic terrorists.”
The FBI is pursuing 1,000 investigations into suspected “lone wolf” militants and another 1,000 into “domestic terrorists”, director Christopher Wray told a Senate appropriations hearing, Reuters reports. Wray said “lone wolf” terrorists – individuals often radicalized over the internet or other social media – are the FBI’s “highest counterterrorism priority.” “And what makes it so hard is that there are not many dots to connect with some of these people,” he said. “They pick soft targets, they use easy-to-use weapons … IEDs (improvised explosive devices), cars, knives, guns.”
Several mass shootings in recent years have been attributed to so-called “lone wolves” whose activities are difficult to predict, such as Orlando night club shooter Omar Mateen. Wray said the FBI was “trying to get better at looking for red flags” that could signal when people becoming radicalized might start to consider taking action. Another official said that included in the lone wolf category are right-wing extremists, violent animal rights and anti-abortion extremists, and in the domestic terror category were African-American or left-wing militants. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), said that as part of the annual budget request the FBI had presented, the Trump administration reduced the FBI budget by 5 percent and postponed plans for a new FBI headquarters.