FBI officials are allegedly pressuring agents to reclassify cases as “domestic violent extremism,” despite weak evidence that the cases belong in such a category.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday that whistleblowers at the FBI say the bureau is “padding domestic terrorism data” to make the threat seem larger than it is. The bureau is misclassifying cases as due to Domestic Violent Extremists (DVEs) to support an administration “narrative” about the threat presented by DVEs, Jordan said.
“From recent protected disclosures, we have learned that FBI officials are pressuring agents to reclassify cases as ‘domestic violent extremism’ even if the cases do not meet the criteria for such a classification. Given the narrative pushed by the Biden administration that domestic violent extremism is the ‘greatest threat’ facing our country, revelation that the FBI may be artificially padding domestic terrorism data is scandalous,” Jordan wrote.
“We have received accusations that FBI agents are bolstering the number of cases of DVEs to satisfy their superiors. For example, one whistleblower explained that because agents are not finding enough DVE cases, they are encouraged and incentivized to reclassify cases as DVE cases even though there is minimal, circumstantial evidence to support the reclassification,” he continued.
Jordan reported that the bureau has created a system of rewards for agents who classify cases under the DVE label.
“Another whistleblower — who led at least one high profile domestic terrorism investigation — stated that a field office Counterterrorism Assistant Special Agent in Charge and the FBI’s Director of the Counterterrorism Division have pressured agents to move cases into the DVE category to hit self-created performance metrics,” Jordan wrote. “According to whistleblowers, the FBI uses these metrics to dispense awards and promotions. Every whistleblower has called it an environment of ‘pressure’ within the FBI.”
Wray has claimed that the DVE threat is likely the primary terrorism threat in the United States. Last year, the FBI head testified to Congress that the 2020 election was feeding the threat and that the bureau estimated that DVE incidents could become more prevalent because of radicalization due to the election.
“Looking forward, the FBI assesses DVEs pose an elevated threat of violence to the United States, and some of these actors have been emboldened in the aftermath of the breach of the U.S. Capitol. We expect Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists, Anti-Government or Anti-Authority Violent Extremists, and other DVEs will very likely pose the greatest domestic terrorism threats in 2021 and likely into 2022,” Wray testified to Congress in June 2021.
Jordan’s letter comes just days after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) alleged in a letter to the Department of Justice and FBI that bureau agents and officials were part of a coordinated effort to downplay evidence of the president’s son Hunter Biden’s misconduct as disinformation.