DHS warns American citizens of threat of domestic violence

Right-wing terrorists on the loose. DHS issues warning.

Homeland Insecurity - DHS issues first warning in a year, and this time the threat is coming from within America 2

National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from several states setting up security positions in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 12. The National Guard

The storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 may not have been a one-off incident, warns the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

On Wednesday, the DHS issued a bulletin warning of a “heightened threat” to national security by “violent domestic extremists.”

‘Perceived grievances fueled by false narratives’

The acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security did not directly mention the Capitol insurrectionists in the alert.

Yet  the document cautioned that there was a danger of violence from anti-government extremists that were against the presidential transition and with other “perceived grievances fueled by false narratives.”

 

These words could very well refer to the radical right-wing militia groups powered by conspiracy theories, the same groups who tried to take over the U.S. Capitol Building. Five people died as a result of the violence.

The DHS said it was “concerned these same drivers to violence will remain through early 2021.”

Elected officials could be in danger

This National Terrorism Advisory Bulletin referred to the 2020 domestic violent extremists and their “anger over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and police use of force.” These same extremists “on occasion carried out attacks against government facilities.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has not directly cited a specific and credible threat.

Nonetheless, the bulletin contained a warning that domestic extremists “emboldened” by the Capitol attack could be a threat to “elected officials and government facilities.”

Homeland Security under Biden

Just over a week into the Biden presidency, this frank tone from the DHS is a clear departure from the Department’s marked silence while under the Trump administration.

Trump downplayed the threats posed by white supremacists. After the deadly Charlottesville protest, Trump praised the “very fine people on both sides.”

There are even claims — some that came from within the White House itself — that the previous administration tried to suppress the phrase “domestic terrorism.”

DHS praised for keeping citizens informed

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) is chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. In a statement he posted on Twitter, he applauded the DHS for recognizing the threat to national security and “taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.”

‘Unprecedented in FBI history’

The violent events of Jan. 6 are far from finished. The Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin said the assault on Capitol was “unprecedented in FBI history.” Altogether, 400 arrests have been made, with at least 165 people charged in federal court. This number is expected to rise.

Homeland Security only issues one or two such bulletins a year. The last warning took place in January 2020 and was related to cyberattacks from Iran.

Stand together against violence

This time, the threat is coming from within. The DHS advises “avoiding large crowds” and asks the public to report “suspicious threats” to local law enforcement.

It notes that “communities are strongest when they are not divided” and calls for the American people to “strengthen [their] community by standing together against violence.”

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