Sifting Domestic Terrorism from Domestic Violent Extremism and Hate Crime Updated [June 1, 2022]   [open pdf - 721KB]

From the Document: "Domestic terrorism (DT) differs from other criminal activity in key ways. Importantly, unlike most offenders--who may be driven by self-centered motives--domestic terrorists are driven by a cause or ideology. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the agency with lead responsibility for terrorism investigations at the federal level, generally relies on two definitions of DT. First, the Code of Federal Regulations [hyperlink] characterizes 'terrorism' as including 'the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.' Second, 18 U.S.C. [United States Code] §2331(5) [hyperlink] more narrowly defines 'domestic terrorism' as occurring primarily within U.S. territorial jurisdiction, and involving acts (A) ... dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) [that] appear to be intended-- (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping…[.] Domestic terrorists draw from many philosophies and worldviews [hyperlink] to justify their illegal acts. They can be motivated to commit crimes in the name of ideas such as animal rights, environmental rights, racially or ethnically based ideological objectives, anti-government or anti-authority beliefs, abortion-related beliefs, and anarchism [hyperlink], for example. Expression of these ideas--absent the commission of crimes--may involve constitutionally protected activity."

Report Number:
CRS Insight, IN10299
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
Help with citations