DHS warns of ‘heightened threat environment’ in pre-holiday terrorism bulletin

DHS warns of 'heightened threat environment' in pre-holiday terrorism bulletin

On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned of a “heightened threat environment” across the country in its latest terrorism advisory bulletin, cautioning that the U.S. could see several acts of violence in the coming months.

“Our homeland continues to face a heightened threat environment —as we have seen, tragically, in recent acts of targeted violence— and is driven by violent extremists seeking to further a political or social goal or act on a grievance,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a release announcing the warning.

Schools, public gatherings, faith-based institutions, government facilities and U.S. infrastructure could be targeted by both lone actors and small groups of people who may be motivated by “a range of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances” in the coming months, the National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin, released Wednesday, warns.

People in racial and religious minorities, the LGBTQ community and the media could also become targets, as could “perceived ideological opponents” of threat actors.

“In the coming months, DHS expects the threat environment to remain heightened, and threat actors could exploit several upcoming events to justify or commit acts of violence,” the DHS said, citing the recent mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., and threats to the Jewish community in New Jersey.

The DHS also warned of violence surrounding November’s midterm elections, calling attention to the attack against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) husband, Paul Pelosi, by an intruder at the lawmaker’s California home.

Violence around the midterms has been isolated so far. However, caution should continue through December while votes are still being certified, the DHS said, and as some continue to argue that the elections were fraudulent.

“Perceptions of government overreach continue to drive individuals to attempt to commit violence targeting government officials and law enforcement officers. Some violent domestic extremists have expressed grievances based on perceptions that the government is overstepping its Constitutional authorities or failing to perform its duties,” the DHS said, warning that many of these sentiments are being stoked online.

The new bulletin is the seventh issued since January 2021 and is set to run through May of next year, replacing one set to expire Wednesday.

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