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Testimony

Radicalization in the U.S. and the Rise of Terrorism

Testimony for House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
14th September 2016

Download the full testimony here. 

Chairman DeSantis, Chairman Meadows, Ranking Member Lynch, and Ranking Member Connolly, and distinguished members of both subcommittees, on behalf of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, it’s an honor to appear before you to discuss today’s topic.

This country is in the midst of the largest spike in homegrown jihadist terrorist activity that it has ever seen, both in the overall number of cases and also the number of fatalities caused by terrorists claiming to act in service of the jihadist cause. While I assess jihadism to remain the top domestic terrorist threat, adherents to several other U.S.-based movements have also engaged more frequently in terrorist violence in recent years, including members of the anti-government Sovereign Citizens movement, and both white nationalists and black nationalists.

This testimony will first show that the problem of terrorism is growing in scale. It then argues that both analysts and the media have an unjustifiable default assumption that relatively small-scale attacks have likely been carried out by “lone wolves.” This prevalence of this assumption was crystal clear in the wake of Omar Mateen’s bloody June 2016 attack in Orlando.