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Experts speak about state of extremism in US one year after Jan. 6

Capitol riots
Posted at 5:32 PM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 19:26:23-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the nation marks one year since the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, the KSHB 41 I-Team spoke with an expert about the state of extremism in the country.

"I think all the lights are still flashing red at this point," said Don Haider-Markel, a professor at the University of Kansas.

Haider-Markel studies political extremism. One year after the riot at the nation's capital, he said the ideologies of extremist groups and movements are becoming more mainstream.

"Increasingly, what we're seeing is that regular, everyday people are being radicalized by these ideologies and by messaging suggesting the 2020 election was stolen," Haider-Markel said.

He explained where he thinks the state of extremism stands in the country.

"Are we set for another event like 1/6? That's not immediately on the horizon, but we should expect a lot more smaller events," Haider-Markel said.

He also gave his thoughts about what has changed since last January.

"I think the biggest change is that whether it be election regulators or school board members or health officials, you see a number of people stepping away from public service for fear of their own safety," Haider-Markel said.

Last fall, FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The topic was threats facing the U.S.

Wray said the FBI has more than doubled its domestic terrorism caseload. It was at about 1,000 in the spring of 2020 and skyrocketed to 2,700 investigations as of September 2021.

"Domestic terrorism is not a new problem, and it didn't just spring up overnight. Remember, back in 1995, the Oklahoma City attack. That was very much a domestic terrorism attack," said Tony Mattivi, former U.S. Department of Justice national security coordinator.

Mattivi retired from the U.S. Department of Justice in 2020 after working there for more than two decades. He specialized in national security cases.

Mattivi said the DOJ began seeing an uptick in domestic terrorism cases right before he retired.

"The interesting [thing] I think about those cases is they have more in common I think than they do differences," Mattivi said. "You're looking at a group of people that wants to use readily accessible weapons to attack soft targets to motivate political or social change."

To handle the increased caseload, the FBI said it's more than doubled the number of people investigating the threat of domestic terrorism.