DHS sends out domestic terrorism alert

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a national terrorism alert Wednesday warning that domestic extremists in the coming weeks could potentially carry out attacks, following the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

“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,″ the bulletin said.

While not pointing to a specific threat, the DHS bulletin said there is “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” in the weeks after President Joe Biden‘s January 20 inauguration.

The bulletin, part of a public alert called a National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin, is the department’s first in about a year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday’s DHS bulletin did not discuss the ideology or political allegiances of such extremists or any specific plot but rather warned generally about “individuals frustrated with the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances and ideological causes fueled by false narratives.”

The bulletin also discussed a series of factors in recent history that they say have increased the likelihood for extremists, which the bulletin refers to as “domestic violent extremists” (DVEs), to carry out politically motivated violence.

These motivational factors include: “anger over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and police use of force have plotted and on occasion carried out attacks against government facilities.” The bulletin also said that “[l]ong-standing racial and ethnic tension” and “opposition to immigration” have motivated DVE attacks, citing a 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas that killed 23 people.

“DHS is concerned these same drivers to violence will remain through early 2021 and some DVEs may be emboldened by the January 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. to target elected officials and government facilities,” the bulletin said.

Moreover, the bulletin also spoke of violent riots in “recent days,” which is likely referencing violence that has recently broken out in Portland, Oregon, spurred by far-left groups.

The DHS is currently headed by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske while Biden’s nominee for the role, Alejandro Mayorkas, is undergoing the Senate confirmation process.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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