Proposed state law seeks to expand GBI’s scope in domestic terrorism investigations

A proposed new law could expand the Georgia Bureau of Investigations’ role in investigating domestic terrorism cases.

“We’re very concerned whether people are coming from the outside of Georgia,” said Senator John Albers.

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Ashli Lincoln learned this could be made possible through purposed Senate Bill 11, called ‘Georgia Fights Terrorism Act.’

Albers co-wrote the bill that was introduced this week. He says in most cases the GBI can only enter an investigation when it’s requested by another agency.

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If Alders’ bill is passed, it would allow the GBI to initiate domestic terrorism investigations on its own.

They will be violent, they will destroy property, they will harm other people, and if you’re doing this in a consistent method and it falls within our laws, that’s another way we can arrest and prosecute those folks,” said Albers.

On Saturday, six people were arrested and charged with domestic terrorism after setting fire to an APD cruiser and vandalizing several businesses, in opposition to the Atlanta Public Safety Facility.

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“There’s no doubt that both the federal and state authorities are looking into this right now,” said former federal prosecutor Scott Husley.

Husley says the federal government is also keeping a close eye on these cases.

He says while Congress hasn’t officially passed a domestic terrorism law, the federal government does prosecute cases like arson, weapons, gangs and inciting a riot. Husley says these are acts that are often involved in domestic terrorism-related cases.

“What we’re seeing is an increasing number of charges at the federal level, focusing on domestic terrorism,” said Husley.

Albers says, if passed, after the GBI concludes its investigation, it will be up to the State’s Attorney General’s Office or local District Attorney to file charges.

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