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2019 Sees Roughly Twice as Many Domestic Terrorism Cases as International

According to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), the rate of 2019 domestic terrorism prosecutions at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) compared to international terrorism prosecutions has remained relatively stable since 2016.

So far in 2019, there have been 71 domestic terrorism prosecutions compared to 34 international terrorism prosecutions—roughly twice as many. In all of 2018, there were 63 domestic prosecutions and 32 international; in 2017, the first year of the Trump administration, the numbers of prosecutions were slightly closer, with 69 domestic and 46 international.

In the last three years of the Obama administration, the rate of domestic versus international terrorism prosecutions fluctuated greatly, from almost quadruple as many domestic prosecutions in 2014 (78 domestic, 20 international), to roughly even in 2016 (62 domestic, 59 international), and back to wider gap in 2016 (102 domestic, 68 international).

The Justice Department classifies several additional kinds of terrorism prosecutions, from critical infrastructure protection to financing to hoaxes. The long-term trend lines of the total number of terrorism prosecutions has leveled off since the spike during George W. Bush’s first term after 9/11, when there were more than 1,200 prosecutions in 2002 and more than 850 in 2003. Beginning with Obama’s second term, there have been between 150 and just over 250 total terrorism prosecutions from the DOJ, however this number exceeds pre-9/11 prosecutions, which were typically around 100.