The Justice Department will create domestic terrorism unit to counter rising threats The announcement was made Tuesday by Matthew Olsen, the head of the department's National Security Division, and comes as the nation faces a constellation of extremist threats on the home front.

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The Justice Department will create domestic terrorism unit to counter rising threats

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's turn to a darker corner of our democracy as it now stands. The Justice Department says it is setting up a new unit to help to counter domestic terrorism. NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas reports.

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, Matthew Olsen, made clear that domestic violent extremists are a source of growing concern.

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MATTHEW OLSEN: The threat posed by domestic terrorism is on the rise. The number of FBI investigations over the past two years since March 2020 has more than doubled.

LUCAS: It's a threat that has bubbled over into deadly violence across the country, but most notably in the attack one year ago on the U.S. Capitol. To help counter this threat, Olsen said he's decided to establish a domestic terrorism unit within the Justice Department's National Security Division.

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OLSEN: This group of dedicated attorneys will focus on the domestic terrorism threat, helping to ensure that these cases are handled properly and effectively coordinated across the Department of Justice and across the country.

LUCAS: The National Security Division helps manage and assist both international and domestic terrorism investigations. Olsen said the new unit will augment the work that counterterrorism attorneys in the division already do. The move reflects the importance that the Justice Department under the Biden administration has put on combating the rise in domestic extremism and the concerning increase in political violence.

Ryan Lucas, NPR News, Washington.

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