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Attorney General Garland, DHS chief Mayorkas testify about domestic extremism threat

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WASHINGTON — Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified Wednesday before a Senate committee about the threat of domestic extremism facing the nation.

Both Cabinet members appeared during a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Their testimony comes as the Department of Homeland Security launched a new strategy to collect and analyze intelligence about security threats from public social media posts. DHS officials said that they are trying to develop a warning system to detect posts similar to the ones that appeared to predict the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

To address the threats, Garland recently called on Congress to boost funding for the Justice Department to carry out a range of priorities, including combating domestic terrorism.

In addition to foreign terrorism, Garland called domestic terrorism “an emerging and accelerating threat” in testimony before the House Appropriations Committee.

"Both forms of terrorism are of extraordinary concern to me. We never want to take our eyes off of what happened on 9/11 and the risks that our country continues to face from foreign-origin attacks on the homeland," he said. "Likewise, we have a growing fear of domestic violent extremism and domestic terrorism. Both of those keep me up at night."

Biden’s 2022 budget request calls on Congress to provide $45 million more for the FBI to investigate domestic terrorism and $40 million more to U.S. attorneys to manage increasing domestic terrorism caseloads.

The hearing comes more than four months after the Jan. 6 riot. More than 440 people have been charged so far with participating in the attack.