The federal government believes that the threat of violence and major civil disturbances around the 2024 U.S. presidential election is so great that it has quietly created a new category of extremists that it seeks to track and counter: Donald Trump’s army of MAGA followers, Newsweek reported.
The challenge for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the primary federal agency charged with law enforcement, is to pursue and prevent what it calls domestic terrorism without direct reference to political parties or affiliations—even though the vast majority of its current “anti-government” investigations are of Trump supporters, according to classified data obtained by Newsweek.
“The FBI is in an almost impossible position,” says a current FBI official, who requested anonymity to discuss highly sensitive internal matters. The official said that the FBI is intent on stopping domestic terrorism and any repeat of the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. But the Bureau must also preserve the Constitutional right of all Americans to campaign, speak freely and protest the government. By focusing on former president Trump and his MAGA (Make America Great Again) supporters, the official said, the Bureau runs the risk of provoking the very anti-government activists that the terrorism agencies hope to counter.
“Especially at a time when the White House is facing Congressional Republican opposition claiming that the Biden administration has ‘weaponized’ the Bureau against the right wing, it has to tread very carefully,” says the official.
Newsweek spoke to over a dozen current or former government officials who specialize in terrorism in a three-month investigation to understand the current domestic-security landscape and to evaluate what President Joe Biden’s administration is doing about what it calls domestic terrorism.