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Detroit FBI 'laser-focused' on preventing acts of domestic terrorism in Michigan

Capitol riot
Posted at 11:37 AM, Jan 28, 2021

(WXYZ) — The Detroit FBI is cracking down on groups who could be planning acts of domestic terrorism and looking to harm citizens and elected leaders.

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One militia group is already being prosecuted for planning to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and the feds are looking into others.

Timothy Waters, the new special agent in charge of the Detroit bureau, said terrorism is the greatest threat to Michigan today.

Throughout his career, Waters has been laser-focused on preventing acts of terror in Michigan, moving up through the ranks with time spent in Detroit and in Washington D.C.

Related: New FBI Special Agent in Charge in Detroit: The public is instrumental in the work we do every day

“The way these groups communicate nowadays, is mostly through social media these days," Waters said. “The challenge is to figure out, are they just talking aspiration or are they planning something. We work through this on a daily basis.”

Most recently, the domestic terrorism plot to kidnap Whitmer by a militia group has reminded the community the level of danger that exists.

“We have seen different groups and individuals attempt to communicate securely, that’s a challenge for law enforcement and FBI, frankly," Waters added.

Related: Watch: FBI Detroit Special Agent in Charge on domestic terrorism, cyber threats & more

Even more troubling, he said the group known as the Wolverine Watchmen is not the only one being investigated.

"Would you say there's been a rise in domestic terrorism?" Reporter Simon Shaykhet asked.

“Obviously, the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6 are very concerning for all of us. We’ve had serious events at the Michigan Capitol. Not as serious, but certainly concerning," Waters responded.

Waters said growing rhetoric is also inspiring more people to go down a path of violence and extremism, potentially taking tangible steps to cause harm. They can't specifically name them, but they have bee identified.

Related: Submit a tip to the FBI tip line online here

“The FBI in Michigan has numerous ongoing investigations into various individuals. I’ll just leave it at that," Waters said.

There have been two Michiganders arrested on federal warrants for their alleged role in the Capitol riots in DC, and he said he expects to see even more arrests.

“If you’re concerned about somebody, pick up the phone and call the FBI. You can always reach us," Waters said.