Weeks after thousands of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., the Department of Homeland Security issued a rare National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin cautioning law enforcement and others of a “heightened threat environment,” reported multiple news outlets.
Based on consultations with the national intelligence community and federal law enforcement agencies, DHS leaders determined a strong possibility exists for similar violent events like what occurred on January 6 as well as in Portland and Seattle after the inauguration of President Joseph Biden Jr., where far left-wing demonstrators damaged federal buildings.
“There is currently a heightened threat environment across the United States that is likely to persist over the coming weeks,” stated the bulletin. “DHS does not have any information to indicate a specific, credible plot; however, violent riots have continued in recent days and we remain concerned that individuals frustrated with the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances and ideological causes fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors to incite or commit violence.”
Although this is the first official bulletin to specifically point to domestic terrorism threats, DHS previously has issued statements singling out the danger of white supremacists inciting violence. In October, it acknowledged white supremacy was the “most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland,” per The New York Times. Immediately following the siege on the Capitol, law enforcement agencies released a joint bulletin warning extremists “may exploit the aftermath of the Capitol breach by conducting attacks to destabilize and force a climactic conflict in the United States,” the newspaper reported.
Earlier this month, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced President Biden requested a comprehensive threat assessment on domestic violence extremism from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in coordination with the FBI and DHS.
“President Biden condemns violence and any violence in the strongest possible terms,” Psaki stated as a press briefing in late January, per Fox News. “Peaceful protests are a cornerstone of our democracy, but smashing windows is not protesting and neither is looting, and actions like these are totally unacceptable.”