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The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday issued a warning concerning “the continued heightened threat environment” in the U.S. due to current events and “anti-government/anti authority violent extremism.”
Events such as the November midterm elections and the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade “could be exploited to justify acts of violence against a range of possible targets,” DHS said in a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) bulletin.
“These targets could include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, schools, racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents,” the bulletin said.
“Threat actors have recently mobilized to violence due to factors such as personal grievances, reactions to current events, and adherence to violent extremist ideologies, including racially or ethnically motivated or anti-government/anti-authority violent extremism.”
DHS said that foreign terrorist organizations and nation state adversaries also remained intent on “exploiting the threat environment to promote or inspire violence, sow discord, or undermine U.S. democratic institutions.”
The NTAS bulletin, the sixth issued by DHS since January 2021, will remain in effect until Nov. 30. It replaced one set to expire at 2 p.m. ET Tuesday.
The bulletin said the “continued proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding current events” could help to fuel violence during the next several months.
“Given a high-profile U.S. Supreme Court case about abortion rights, individuals who advocate both for and against abortion have, on public forums, encouraged violence, including against government, religious, and reproductive healthcare personnel and facilities, as well as those with opposing ideologies,” the bulletin said.
“As the United States enters mid-term election season this year, we assess that calls for violence by domestic violent extremists directed at democratic institutions, political candidates, party offices, election events, and election workers will likely increase.”
Mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, that killed 31 people have thrust gun laws into the forefront of the nation’s attention.
On Thursday night, the House Jan. 6 select committee will hold a prime-time hearing to remind people of the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack.
DHS said it remained focused on disinformation that threatens the security of the American people, including disinformation spread by foreign states (i.e. Russia, China, Iran) and other adversaries such as transnational criminal organizations and human smuggling organizations.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said his department remained “steadfast in our commitment to provide timely information and resources to the American public and our partners across every level of government, in law enforcement, and in the private sector.”
“As recent acts of violence in communities across the country have so tragically demonstrated, the nation remains in a heightened threat environment, and we expect that environment will become more dynamic in the coming months,” Mayorkas said in a release announcing the bulletin.
“The Department of Homeland Security remains steadfast in our commitment to provide timely information and resources to the American public and our partners across every level of government, in law enforcement, and in the private sector.”