DHS issues national terrorism bulletin warning of politically motivated violence

DHS issues national terrorism bulletin warning of politically motivated violence

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin on Wednesday, warning about a growing risk of attacks by “ideologically-motivated violent extremists” unhappy about President Joe Biden’s inauguration and “perceived grievances fueled by false narratives.”

In a statement, DHS said the purpose of the new bulletin was to warn the public about a “heightened threat environment” across the United States “that is likely to persist over the coming weeks.”

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The advisory will expire at 1 p.m. ET on April 30, according to the release.

The DHS periodically issues such advisories through its National Terrorism Advisory System, but the warnings have typically been generated because of concerns about attacks from foreign governments or radical groups, The Washington Post reported. Threats from domestic extremists have rarely been part of a warning, the newspaper reported.

The bulletin does not suggest that an attack is imminent, but rather it is a lesser-status warning designed to alert the public about general risks, according to the Post.

“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.

The advisory suggests that a breach in security may have encouraged domestic extremists to target elected officials and government facilities, The New York Times reported.

The advisory was issued by David Pekoske, the acting director of homeland security, the newspaper reported.

The most recent bulletins DHS has issued -- both in January -- warned the public about an elevated threat from Iran, the Post reported.

“Throughout 2020, Domestic Violent Extremists (DVEs) targeted individuals with opposing views engaged in First Amendment-protected, nonviolent protest activity,” the bulletin states. “DVEs motivated by a range of issues, including 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 added that “DHS is concerned these same drivers to violence will remain through early 2021 and some DVEs may be emboldened by the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. to target elected officials and government facilities.”