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NEWS & ANALYSIS

DHS Issues Federal Terrorism Advisory Over Domestic Extremists, 1st Alert in a Year

Following the Capitol riot on January 6, the Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism advisory warning Wednesday, citing a “heightened threat environment across the U.S.” 

Using a federal system designed to warn about pressing threats to the nation, the DHS said that a National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin would remain in effect until April 30, saying the threat would “persist in the weeks following the successful Presidential inauguration,” NBC reports. 

“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 DHS said in the alert. 

Though DHS does not have any information regarding a specific plot of attack, the department said it remains concerned about extremists who are “motivated by a range of issues, including anger over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and police use of force.” 

The department added that “these same drivers to violence will remain through early 2021 and some may be emboldened by the January 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol.” 

This is the first time in a year the DHS used a federal alert system to warn of a threat. The last bulletin was issued in January of 2020, warning of potential cyberattacks by Iran in response to the U.S. assassination of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq. A year prior, DHS issued a bulletin to highlight the threat from foreign terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, Good Morning America reports.  

But, over the last year, domestic terrorists have swarmed the nation, triggered by “long-standing racial and ethnic tension — including opposition to immigration,” the bulletin urged. 

The National Terrorism Advisory system “recognizes that Americans all share responsibility for the nation’s security, and should always be aware of the heightened risk of terrorist attacks in the United States and what they should do,” DHS says on its website. 

According to Good Morning America, the system was created in 2011 to replace the alerts that were implemented in the wake of the devastating 9/11 attacks. 

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