The Department of Homeland Security has issued a bulletin flagging that there is a “heightened threat environment” across the U.S. and that in the coming weeks, extremists could carry out further violence like the kind that erupted ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Last week, the Biden Administration announced that it had directed the Office of National Intelligence to coordinate with Homeland Security and the FBI to assess the threat that domestic violent extremists pose to America.
In the bulletin sent from its National Terrorism Advisory System on Wednesday, DHS said that some domestic violent extremists may be emboldened after the Jan. 6 insurrection in which a mass of white supremacist Trump supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol in a violent attack that left five people dead.
“Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” reads the bulletin.
I’m just throwing it out there, but I wonder if these extremists continue to feel empowered to carry out further violence because the seemingly timid prosecution of their brethren has comforted them into believing they won’t face serious consequences for their terrorizing actions? Just last week, we heard that the FBI and Justice Department are considering letting some of the Capitol attackers get off with plea agreements that would leave them with clean criminal records and no jail time. So far, only about 100 of the estimated 800 people at the insurrection have been charged in the violent incident.
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Homeland Security says the factors driving its concerns about further domestic terrorism incidents include extremists’ continuing anger over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and “police use of force.” That last one took me back a bit, but I suppose it’s par for the course for Black people to be brought into any official narrative about violence somehow—though I don’t recall anyone who was protesting against police violence last summer killing anyone, much less a police officer like the Capitol terrorists did.
The bulletin also mentioned that “longstanding racial and ethnic tension” has caused extremist violence like the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas which was carried out by an anti-immigration white supremacist who specifically targeted Latinos.
Given the current climate, DHS recommends avoiding large crowds, including protests. The agency is also encouraging the public to report suspicious activity and threats of violence, including those made online, to local law enforcement or FBI field offices.