On 27 January, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued its first National Terror Advisory Bulletin in a year. The reason it’s such a big deal this time: The DHS has never used the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) to warn the public of a domestic terror* threat as opposed to an external/foreign terror threat.
You can read the official bulletin here.
- The DHS reminds us that throughout 2020, Domestic Violent Extremists, referred to as DVEs, were actively targeting “…individuals with opposing views engaged in First Amendment protected, non-violent protest activity.” Further citing that the DVEs are motivated by anger resulting from various topics ranging from COVID-19 restrictions to 2020 Election results.
- Racial and ethnic tension has been a driving factor behind shootings–namely the recent events in El Paso, Texas in 2019 which left 23 people dead.
- The DHS believes these same DVEs could be emboldened by the events of the Jan. 6th Capitol Riot.
- There have been increased threats against critical infrastructure including the electric, telecommunications, and healthcare sectors. Such threats and subsequent attacks have been linked to misinformation and conspiracy theories.
How You Can Help
The DHS has asked that the public remain vigilant in reporting suspicious activity and threats of violence to local law enforcement, and FBI Field Ofifices.
Additionally they advise that individuals avoid large crowds, including protests, due to ongoing pandemic conditions as well as heightened risk of violence. If you do plan to participate in any form of protest, though–do so non-violently.