Sifting Domestic Terrorism from Hate Crime and Homegrown Violent Extremism [June 13, 2016] [open pdf - 181KB]
"Domestic terrorism, hate crime, and homegrown violent extremism are three fairly distinct concepts that federal law enforcement agencies use to categorize key types of criminals whose illegal activities are at least partly ideologically motivated. […] Domestic terrorism cases differ from ordinary criminal activity in key ways. Most importantly, unlike ordinary criminals--who are often driven by self-centered motives such as profit and tend to opportunistically seek easy prey--domestic terrorists are driven by a cause or ideology. If the motives involved eventually align with the definition laid out in 18 U.S.C. §2331(5), presumably the case becomes a domestic terrorist investigation. […] Current federal law defines hate crimes to include any crime against either person or property in which the offender intentionally selects the victim because of the victim's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation. Hate crimes may appear to involve ideological issues. However, as described by one FBI official, a 'hate crime' 'generally involve[s] acts of personal malice directed at individuals' and is missing the broader motivations driving acts of domestic terrorism. […] The FBI and DHS have popularized the phrase 'homegrown violent extremist' (HVE). It divides domestic terrorists from U.S.-based terrorists motivated by the ideologies of foreign terrorist organizations. According to DHS and the FBI, a HVE is 'a person of any citizenship who has lived and/or operated primarily in the United States or its territories who advocates, is engaged in, or is preparing to engage in ideologically-motivated terrorist activities (including providing support to terrorism) […]."
CRS Insight, IN10299
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html