Here's the data on white supremacist terrorism the Trump administration has been 'unable or unwilling' to give to Congress

WASHINGTON — Alleged white supremacists were responsible for all race-based domestic terrorism incidents in 2018, according to a government document distributed earlier this year to state, local and federal law enforcement.

The document, which has not been previously reported on, becomes public as the Trump administration’s Justice Department has been unable or unwilling to provide data to Congress on white supremacist domestic terrorism.

The data in this document, titled “Domestic Terrorism in 2018,” appears to be what Congress has been asking for — and didn’t get.

The document, dated April 15, 2019, shows 25 of the 46 individuals allegedly involved in 32 different domestic terrorism incidents were identified as white supremacists. It was prepared by New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security Preparedness, one of the main arteries of information-sharing, and sent throughout the DHS fusion center network as well as federal agencies, including the FBI.

“This map reflects 32 domestic terrorist attacks, disrupted plots, threats of violence, and weapons stockpiling by individuals with a radical political or social agenda who lack direction or influence from foreign terrorist organizations in 2018,” the document says.

The map and data was circulated throughout the Department of Justice and around the country in April just as members of the Senate pushed the DOJ to provide them with precise information about the number of white supremacists involved in domestic terrorism. While the document shows this information clearly had been compiled, some of the senators say the Justice Department would not give them the figures.

The DOJ did not respond to Yahoo News’ questions about why this data was not sent to Congress.

“I’m troubled by the lack of transparency, given that we haven’t received this critical information after several requests to the FBI and DOJ. They cannot and should not remain silent in the face of such a dangerous threat,” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., wrote in an email, after being told about the data.

Booker is part of a group of senators on the Judiciary Committee who have raised concerns about how the Justice Department categorizes domestic terror incidents and expressed concerns that white supremacist violence is being downplayed.

An aide for Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who is also on the Judiciary Committee, said it was “disappointing” to discover the Justice Department has information it has been “unable or unwilling” to provide to senators.

“This is disappointing but unfortunately not surprising. In April, the Justice Department and the FBI briefed Senate Judiciary Committee staff on domestic terrorism, nearly six months after Sen. Durbin’s office first requested the briefing,” the aide said. “At the briefing, the DOJ and the FBI were unable or unwilling to provide precise data on white supremacist terrorism, and neither agency has responded to our repeated follow-up questions since the briefing.”

After the briefing with officials from the Justice Department and FBI, Booker, Durbin and other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray in May outlining their concerns about the categorization of domestic terrorism incidents.

“For the past decade, the FBI used 11 different categories for domestic terrorism, including a separate category for white supremacist incidents. The Administration is now using a classification system with only four categories, including ‘racially-motivated violent extremism,’” the letter said. “This new category inappropriately combines incidents involving white supremacists and so-called ‘Black identity extremists,’ a fabricated term based on a faulty assessment of a small number of isolated incidents.”

In the letter, the senators said they were “deeply concerned that this reclassification downplays the significance of the white supremacist threat.” They also indicated that they asked the FBI and DOJ officials involved in the briefing for information about white supremacist terrorism and were not provided with it.

“The briefers provided statistics on racially motivated violent extremism … but could not say how many involved white supremacist violence, other than to acknowledge they were ‘a majority’ of the incidents. If we do not understand the scope of the problem, we cannot effectively address it,” the letter said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified during a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on July 23 and Booker asked him about the bureau’s categorization of domestic terrorist groups. A week later, Booker sent Wray a request for additional information for the record, including the number of attacks and fatalities that “have been attributed to white supremacists since 2000.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

“During your hearing, I asked you a number of questions regarding the number of violent attacks and fatalities categorized as domestic terrorism, and you were unable to provide that data,” Booker wrote to Wray. Booker’s office said Wray has not responded to his request.

The April 15 document is available online on the New Jersey state government’s website.

In response to questions from Yahoo News, an FBI spokesperson declined to comment on whether the information was given to the senators, but insisted the FBI was regularly working with relevant congressional committees.

“While we don’t comment on congressional engagement, we can assure you that the FBI routinely engages with our oversight authorities in Congress around requests for information and FBI operations,” the FBI spokesperson said.

The FBI declined to comment on the April 15 document, saying the bureau “is not going to comment on somebody else’s product.”

A Department of Justice spokesperson referred Yahoo News to congressional testimony Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brad Wiegmann gave before the House Homeland Security Committee in May for a description of “the department’s efforts in the domestic terrorism area in general.”

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A man hangs up an "El Paso Strong" sign at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A woman cries as she visits a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A woman leans over to write a message on a cross at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People crowd around a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A woman is reflected in a picture as she looks at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. Saturday's mass shooting at the Walmart left multiple people dead and more than two dozen others injured. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People visit a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
En esta imagen tomada de un video en abril de 2019, migrantes se entregan a agentes fronterizos en El Paso, Texas, después de cruzar hacia territorio estadounidense desde México. (AP Foto/Cedar Attanasio)
Flags fly over crosses at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The border city jolted by a weekend massacre at a Walmart absorbed more grief Monday as the death toll climbed and prepared for a visit from President Donald Trump over anger from El Paso residents and local Democratic leaders who say he isn't welcome and should stay away. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People visit a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Gloria Garces se arrodilla el martes 6 de agosto de 2019 en un memorial ubicado cerca de la escena de un tiroteo en un centro comercial de El Paso, Texas. (AP Foto/John Locher)
People visit a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People visit a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Catalina Saenz wipes tears from her face as she visits a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. A list of the people who died in the weekend shooting rampage at the Walmart, shows that most of the victims had Latino surnames and included one German national. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A woman leaves flowers at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Gloria Garces kneels in front of crosses at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Rene Aguilar and Jackie Flores pray at a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Catalina Saenz wipes tears from her face as she visits a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People crowd around a makeshift memorial near the site of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting at a shopping complex over the weekend, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A man cries beside a cross at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The border city jolted by a weekend massacre at a Walmart absorbed more grief Monday as the death toll climbed and prepared for a visit from President Donald Trump over anger from El Paso residents and local Democratic leaders who say he isn't welcome and should stay away. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A man cries beside a cross at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The border city jolted by a weekend massacre at a Walmart absorbed more grief Monday as the death toll climbed and prepared for a visit from President Donald Trump over anger from El Paso residents and local Democratic leaders who say he isn't welcome and should stay away. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting over the weekend, at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting over the weekend, at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Angie Attaguile rests her head on her husband, Ray Attaguile's shoulder as they embrace their children during a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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Members of the Americas High School football team visit the site of a mass shooting over the weekend, at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The team visited to hang a banner that reads "El Paso Strong." (AP Photo/John Locher)
Members of the Americas High School football team from El Paso huddle around, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, as they visit the site of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Christina Pipkin cries as she visits a makeshift memorial, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, at the site of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, in El Paso, Texas. "It's hard to see it, it's heartbreaking," said Pipkin about visiting the memorial. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Members of the Americas High School football team from El Paso carry an "El Paso Strong" sign into place near the site of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Members of the Americas High School football team from El Paso carry an "El Paso Strong" sign into place near the site of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Mayte Santiesteban visits a cross dedicated to her best friend's aunt, who was killed in the weekend shooting, at a makeshift memorial at the site of the mass shooting at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Daphne Rosas, a former sixth grade student of teacher Elsa Mendoza de la Mora, one of the victims of the shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, shows her class photo with Mendoza in the center, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019. Mexico’s government said it considers the shooting that left eight of its citizens dead an “act of terrorism” against Mexicans and hopes it will lead to changes in U.S. gun laws. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
Personas oran frente a un altar improvisado en honor a las víctimas de una masacre en un centro comercial de El Paso, Texas, el lunes 5 de agosto de 2019. (AP Foto/John Locher)
Greg Zanis prepares crosses to place at a makeshift memorial for victims of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Maylin Reyes, right, and Isela Reyes prepare to hang a Mexican flag at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Rene Aguilar y Jackie Flores rezan en un memorial para las víctimas de un tiroteo en El Paso, Texas, el domingo 4 de agosto de 2019. (AP Foto/Andres Leighton)
Greg Zanis prepares crosses to place at a makeshift memorial for victims of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People comfort each other during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Cathe Hill wipes tears from her eyes during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. "There's no such thing as a stranger here in El Paso," said Hill about the impact the shooting had on the community. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Children of a youth sports community participate in a vigil for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
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A man leaves flowers near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Someone left a couple of signs outside Del Sol Medical Center after a mass shooting occurred at Walmart early Saturday in El Paso, TX on Sunday, August 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Carmen Roldan brings some flowers to honor the memory of the victims of the mass shooting occurred in Walmart on Saturday morning in El Paso on Sunday, August 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Jessica Luna hugs her son Julien Lucero, 6, while both of them cry during a vigil at Ponder Park in honor to the victims of a mass shooting occurred in Walmart on Saturday morning in El Paso on Sunday, August 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Family members hug to each other outside the family reunification center at MacArthur Elementary-Intermediate School in El Paso, Texas on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Amanda Beltran holds her cell phone flashlights up as she wipes her tears away during a vigil Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, at Ponder Park in honor of the victims of the mass shooting that occurred in Walmart on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
People march in silence holding sunflowers and sings in honor to the victims of a mass shooting occurred in Walmart on Satuday morning in El Paso on Sunday, August 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
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Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke walks next to his wife Amy Hoover Sanders and Rep. Veronica Escobar Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, during a silent march holding sunflowers in honor to the victims of a mass shooting occurred in Walmart on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Houston Astros players bow their heads during a moment of silence in remembrance of the the mass shooting victims in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio before a baseball game Sunday, August 4, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Three-year-old Andrew Malagon observes a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Employees of Walmart cry as they attend a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting who were killed at the store inside a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A Virgin Mary painting, flags and flowers adorn a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Clockwise from left, Gabriela Lopez and her husband Roberto Lopez comfort their children Santi Lopez and Max Lopez during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People raise their arms in the air during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Lupe Lopez holds a picture of a victim during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People pray during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Members of a youth sports community participate in a vigil for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
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The document groups the 46 individuals allegedly involved in domestic terror incidents last year into three categories: “race-based extremists,” “anti-government extremists,” and “single-issue extremists.” But the map also includes more detailed data within these categories and all 25 of the individuals classified as “race-based extremists” are identified as “white supremacists.”

The government’s classification of individuals under specific categories does not indicate they were necessarily convicted of crimes for extremist behavior, or that the actual charges against them included an extremist element. A Yahoo News review of the cases found that many were still pending, and we blurred out details identifying two individuals. In one instance, the status of the case was unclear; in the other, the charges were dismissed.)

Some Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have argued that the Justice Department’s decision to reduce the number of categories, and using only “race-based extremists,” will make tracking white supremacists more difficult.

Law enforcement agencies responding to an active shooter in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday. (Photo: Joel Angel Juarez/AFP/Getty Images)

“The Trump administration’s irresponsible decision to stop tracking white supremacist incidents as a separate category of domestic terrorism obfuscates the extent of this threat,” Durbin’s aide said.

In his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, FBI Director Wray, when pressed, said the “majority” of domestic terrorism cases last year involved white supremacists. However, Wray did not provide specific figures.

Booker said he was not surprised to learn the data shows that race-based attacks last year involved white supremacists. He cited a spate of recent high-profile incidents, including the Aug. 3 shooting in El Paso that left 22 people dead as proof of the white supremacist threat.

“While white supremacy is not a new phenomenon in America, it’s incredibly troubling the way the movement has been emboldened and the administration’s efforts to obfuscate the data on these terrorist incidents simply defies logic,” Booker said.

In March, Durbin introduced the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act in the wake of a shooting at a mosque in New Zealand. The bill called on the DOJ and on FBI offices that monitor, investigate and prosecute domestic terrorism to assess the “threat posed by white supremacists” and to “provide transparency through a public quantitative analysis of domestic terrorism–related assessments, investigations, incidents, arrests, indictments, prosecutions, convictions, and weapons recoveries.” Booker was among the co-sponsors of the bill.

According to Durbin’s aide, the ambiguity in the current classification system and the DOJ’s apparent reluctance to release data on white supremacist terrorism raises concerns about whether adequate resources are being devoted to the threat.

“This highlights the problem with not specifically tracking white supremacist attacks,” the aide said of the document. “If we do not understand the scope of this problem, we cannot effectively combat it.”

Martin de Bourmont contributed research to this article.

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