The Department of Homeland Security issued a rare public bulletin in an effort to raise awareness of the threat of “ideologically motivated violent extremists” called to action over “perceived grievances fueled by false narratives” in the aftermath of the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
A National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin was released Jan. 27 “due to a heightened threat environment across the United States, which DHS believes will persist in the weeks following the successful Presidential Inauguration.”
The bulletin is used by DHS to warn of a general threat to the public. A specific, imminent threat would receive an “elevated” or “imminent” alert designation.
“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 statement read.
Tammy Bracewell, assistant professor of criminal justice at Texas A&M University-Central Texas, said the nature of the bulletin’s release is rare in itself.
Most DHS bulletins, she said, are for law enforcement eyes only, unlike this bulletin, which was released to the public.
This is also the first bulletin to ever publicly address the threat of domestic terrorism, she said.
“It’s not typical at all,” she said. “The vast majority, in fact all of the past ones (bulletins), have been in reference to international terrorism.”
DHS cited “long-standing racial and ethnic tension” of recent years — including the 2019 shooting in El Paso that killed 23 people — as background details for the bulletin’s release.
“Throughout 2020, Domestic Violence Extremists (DVEs) targeted individuals with opposing views engaged in First Amendment-protected, non-violent protest activity,” the statement read. “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 advises Americans to be prepared by avoiding large crowds, being aware of your surroundings, and staying informed of emerging threats as DHS continues to monitor domestic violence extremist groups.
“In essence, it’s calling people to be hyper vigilant to their surroundings, while at the same time also letting law enforcement know that there may be an increased risk and to keep an extra eye out — especially on state and federal buildings in their jurisdiction,” Bracewell said.
The bulletin will remain in effect until April 30. To read the entire DHS bulletin visit https://bit.ly/2LvFfhq.