Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued an update on terrorism on Friday, warning of persistent nationwide threats that “have evolved significantly and are increasingly… becomes complex and volatile.”
The latest bulletin from the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) comes as the department formed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks is looking within its borders to confront a homegrown threat. emerging garden, emerged during the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
The news also carried about a earlier NTAS release after President Biden’s inauguration is scheduled to expire on Saturday.
“Ideally motivated violent extremists fueled by perceived grievances, false narratives and conspiracy theories continue to share information online with the aim of inciting violence.” , the bulletin wrote.
Friday’s threat advisory also warned that violent extremists could seek to exploit relaxed COVID-19 restrictions across the US “to launch attacks against a variety of targets after previous limited public capacity reduces the chance for lethal attacks.”
The bulletin warns the public that extremists regularly use social media and online platforms to make claims of “a race war” taking advantage of civil disorder “to engage in violence to achieve ideological goals.” DHS asserts that the use of encrypted messaging by lone offenders and violent extremist cells poses a challenge to law enforcement operations, DHS asserts in its advisory, as attackers offenses intended to obscure operational signals about future acts of violence.
“The threat landscape related to terrorism today is more complex, dynamic and diverse than it was a few years ago,” Minister Mayorkas said in a statement to CBS News. “We know that it’s important to provide timely and useful information to the public as we all work together to protect our homeland.”
Mayorkas continued, “With today’s release of the NTAS Bulletin, we advise the public to be alert to ongoing threats to the United States, including those posed by domestic terrorism. , claims-based violence, and threats inspired or influenced by foreign terrorists and foreign influencers In this growing threat environment, DHS is working hard doubly to detect and prevent all forms of domestic and foreign terrorism and targeted violence, while protecting privacy, civil rights and civil liberties.”
Foreign terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda and ISIS, continue to target homegrown extremists based in the United States, according to the bulletin, in hopes of amplifying statements. dangerous thing.
According to the report, state- and country-state adversaries have also stepped up efforts to sow discord, according to the report, bringing together media outlets affiliated with the governments of Russia, China and Iran to sell their products. Conspiracy theories about the origins of COVID-19 and the effectiveness of vaccines, some of which call violence against people of Asian descent.
The updated advisory also identifies houses of worship, crowded or congregated commercial establishments and government facilities as historical targets of domestic terrorism and encourages law enforcement partners Local laws alert the federal government to online and physical indicators of the growing threat of violence.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration completed a 100-day policy review on domestic violent extremism led by the National Security Council (NSC).
“Our ultimate goal from this review has always been to develop a strategy that will communicate to the American people an overarching sense of how we deal with the situation,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. respond to the threat posed by domestic terrorism”. this month. “I anticipate an update on that and policy proposals will be weeks, not months. But at this point, that’s the stage of the process.”
Top counterterrorism officials gave lawmakers a preview of the policy tools being considered at a congressional hearing late last month.
Assistant Secretary of State for Counterterrorism at DHS John Cohen told the House Homeland Security Committee that the Biden administration was exploring taking advantage of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) watchlist regulators. ) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to help root out the threat of domestic violence and extremism.
John Godfrey, Acting Counter-Terrorism Coordinator at the US State Department, said in the same hearing that the administration was floating using terrorist designations – namely, Terrorist Group authorities. Specially Designated Statements (SDTG) – against violent extremists with racial and ethnic motives, adding that they are “close to each other in some cases.”
Underline Friday’s NTAS Newsletter the results of a joint report issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in Marchpredicts that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the “grave impact of the violent intrusion of the United States Capitol” will “almost certainly” spur domestic violent extremists to participate in the attacks. more violence.
Intelligence agencies found that violent extremists with racial or ethnic motives and militia violent extremists were the “most lethal threats”. Racist-motivated extremists were identified as more likely to incite mass-casualty attacks against civilians, while violent militia extremists often targeted targeted at law enforcement and government employees and facilities.
And just last month, DHS secretary opens internal investigation to address the threat of domestic violent extremism within the department itself, according to a memo to staff obtained by CBS News.
Since 2015, DHS has used the NTAS bulletin to identify “homegrown terrorists” inspired by foreign nations or terrorist groups, but January’s advice marks the first The ministry first released a bulletin about the purely domestic threat to the homeland.
DHS bulletins are designed to illustrate current developments or trends in terrorist threats and are not to be confused with enhanced alert levels, credible terrorist threat warnings, or impending warning, warning of a credible, specific and impending terrorist threat.
Friday’s NTAS Bulletin will expire on August 13, 2021.
Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.