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Department of Homeland Security Releases Bulletin Citing Concerns of a ‘Heightened Threat Environment’ Ahead of Midterms

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On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a bulletin warning of a “heightened threat environment” over the next several months, stating they will monitor the risk of domestic terrorism within the U.S. to promote acts of violence. 

“The United States remains in a heightened threat environment, as noted in the previous Bulletin, and several recent attacks have highlighted the dynamic and complex nature of the threat environment,” DHS said in the bulletin from the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS).

“In the coming months, we expect the threat environment to become more dynamic as several high-profile events could be exploited to justify acts of violence against a range of possible targets,” the bulletin continued.

The bulletin noted that potential targets could include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents.

The DHS bulletin also stated:

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.  Foreign adversaries—including terrorist organizations and nation state adversaries—also remain intent on exploiting the threat environment to promote or inspire violence, sow discord, or undermine U.S. democratic institutions.  We continue to assess that the primary threat of mass casualty violence in the United States stems from lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances.

DHS pointed to “several recent violent attacks by lone offenders against minority communities, schools, houses of worship, and mass transit have demonstrated the dynamic and complex nature of the threat environment facing the United States.”

The bulletin referenced the Uvalde mass shooting, Buffalo grocery store attack, and Laguna Woods attack that targeted congregants of a church.

Cont. from the bulletin:

  • Some domestic violent extremists have expressed grievances related to their perception that the U.S. government is unwilling or unable to secure the U.S.-Mexico border and have called for violence to stem the flow of undocumented migrants to the United States.  We assess that there is increased risk of domestic violent extremists using changes in border security-related policies and/or enforcement mechanisms to justify violence against individuals, such as minorities and law enforcement officials involved in the enforcement of border security.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

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