US issues new domestic threat warning
Simmering grievances, political divides, the steady proliferation of neo-Nazi propaganda online and the approaching 2024 presidential election keep the United States stuck in an ‘enhanced threat environment’, according to latest warning from US officials internal security.
The Department of Homeland Security reissued a National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin on Wednesday, saying a combination of anger, ideologies and opportunity “pose a persistent and deadly threat to the homeland.”
This is the eighth time DHS has issued the bulletin since 2021, with this advisory replacing the previous warning, issued last November.
It comes just days after a 19-year-old man from Missouri crashed a rented truck into a White House security gate before waving a Nazi flag, and as the nation celebrates the first anniversary of a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
“Recent tragic events highlight the ever-escalating threat environment facing our nation,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
“These threats are driven by violent extremists seeking to advance their ideological beliefs and personal grievances,” he said. “We work with partners at all levels of government, within the private sector and in local communities to keep Americans safe.”
As with previous advisories, the latest bulletin warns that the greatest threat comes from individuals and small groups willing to act on either personal grievances or a range of ideological beliefs.
‘We continue to hear and see calls from domestic violent extremists based on ideological opinions, calls for violence,’ according to a senior official, who told reporters on the condition of anonymity in accordance with ground rules. established by DHS. “The rate and severity of these types of calls are always high and occurring regularly.”
For example, the DHS bulletin reports on the May 6 shooting in Allen, Texas, noting that the shooter, Mauricio Garcia, espoused both white supremacist beliefs and involuntary celibacy, or “incel.”
It also highlighted a string of criminal acts in Georgia dating back to 2022, with the suspects citing a range of views – from anarchism to animal rights – for plotting an attack on a security training center public.
And government facilities are just one part of a long list of potential targets, which includes the nation’s critical infrastructure, faith groups, those associated with the LGBTQIA+ community, racial and ethnic minorities, and schools.
Senior Homeland Security officials said Wednesday that part of what makes the threat environment so dangerous is that the targets, like in some recent school shootings, may have little or nothing to do with the motivation of the attack. ‘an attacker.
“It’s not even clear that the school itself was in fact related in any way to the ideological narrative or the individual’s grievance,” said a second senior Homeland Security official, who, as the first, was informed on condition of anonymity. “It just serves as an opportunistic target.”
The official said that despite serious concerns, there is no intelligence at this time to suggest specific groups or individuals are preparing for attacks. But some trends are worrying.
“There seems to be an increase in neo-Nazi and white nationalist themed calls for violence,” the first official said.
“This [neo-Nazi] The theme is offered more effectively now than it was several years ago,” the official added, saying the texts of several prominent white supremacists have gained traction in online forums after being converted. in audiobooks.
Homeland Security officials said they are also monitoring the impact of calls, public and online, for violence against migrants arriving at the US southern border.
And they see potential danger as candidates begin to announce their intention to run for president and the 2024 election cycle begins.
“We expect that any questions or concerns that individuals may have about this election cycle and the electoral process may, in fact, become a source of motivation for an individual to take a further step towards violent extremist action. “, said the second official.
The danger will grow, he said, “if the terminology surrounding the election begins to talk about it in existential or apocalyptic terms.”
In addition, DHS officials said they continue to be concerned about threats from nation-state actors like Iran, as well as the potential threat from terrorist groups like Islamic State and al- Qaeda, although some officials have downplayed the likelihood of foreign terrorism in recent months. Attack on American soil.