Prosecutions for National Security/Terrorism and Domestic Terrorism Remain High in FY 2022
(10 Mar 2022) More than a year after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, the number of federal prosecutions that fall under the charge group of "terrorism/national internal security" remains high. According to case-by-case data on federal prosecutions from the Justice Department obtained after successful court litigation by TRAC through the Freedom of Information Act, 233 such charges have been filed in the first four months of FY 2022 (October 2021 to January 2022).

As TRAC found in January, not all of these charges are connected to what are now called the Capitol Breach Cases, nor are all Capitol Breach Cases charged under this program. However, a large number of terrorism/national internal security prosecutions involve charges that are used in prosecutions connected to the events at the Capitol. Out of the 56 such charges brought in January 2022, the charge for "temporary residence and office of President" (18 USC 1752) was the most common. 18 USC 1752 is a common charge against defendants in the Capitol Breach Cases. Other charges under this grouping for January 2022 include 11 charges for conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US (18 USC 371), five charges for civil disorders (18 USC 231), and three charges for tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant (18 USC 1512).

Many national internal security/terrorism offenses in recent years have been labeled acts of domestic terrorism. These now outnumber international terrorism prosecutions. By the end of FY 2021, there had been 587 prosecutions for domestic terrorism—by far the largest number in TRAC's data going back to 1996. In FY 2022 so far 165 new prosecutions for domestic terrorism have been filed in federal courts, already putting it second to FY 2021 in terms of total numbers. If domestic terrorism prosecutions continue at this monthly rate, FY 2022 will see 495 new prosecutions of this type filed.

TRAC had previously found that FY 2020 set a new high in terms of domestic terrorism charges driven, in part, by the large volume of prosecutions filed in Oregon that year related to civil unrest in Portland, Oregon. FY 2021 and FY 2022 far exceed these previous highs, raising serious questions about if and when we will see a decline in alleged domestic terrorism. By contrast, so far in FY 2022, only six new prosecutions have been filed for international terrorism and in January 2022 no new prosecutions were filed. At this rate, FY 2022 may see the fewest of these types of prosecutions since before 9/11.

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