US sees heightened extremist threat heading into midterms

Jun 6, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 1:45 pm
FILE - The Department of Homeland Security logo is seen during a news conference in Washington, Feb...

FILE - The Department of Homeland Security logo is seen during a news conference in Washington, Feb. 25, 2015. DHS says a looming Supreme Court decision on abortion, an increase of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and the midterm elections are potential triggers for extremist violence over the next six months. DHS said June 7, 2022, in the National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin the U.S. was in a "heightened threat environment" already and these factors may worsen the situation. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A looming Supreme Court decision on abortion, an increase of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and the midterm elections are potential triggers for extremist violence over the next six months, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday.

The U.S. was in a “heightened threat environment” already, and these factors may worsen the situation, DHS said in the latest National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin.

“In the coming months, we expect the threat environment to become more dynamic as several high-profile events could be exploited to justify acts of violence against a range of possible targets,” DHS said.

It’s the latest attempt by Homeland Security to draw attention to the threat posed by domestic violent extremism, a shift from alerts about international terrorism that were a hallmark of the agency following its creation after the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Indeed, the threats from overseas rate only passing mentions in this bulletin. It notes that al-Qaida supporters celebrated the January standoff at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. And it mentions that the Islamic State group called on supporters to carry out attacks in the United States to avenge the killings of the group’s leader and spokesman.

DHS also warns that China, Russia, Iran and other nations seek to foment divisions within the U.S. to weaken the country and its standing in the world. In part, they do this by amplifying conspiracy theories and false reports that proliferate in American society.

Domestic violent extremists, however, present the most pressing and potentially violent threat, the agency said, citing, for example, the racist attack in which a white gunman killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket in May.

The bulletin, which is scheduled to expire Nov. 30, said calls for violence by domestic extremists directed at democratic institutions, candidates and election workers will likely increase through the fall. It said that people in online forums have praised the mass shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and encouraged copycat attacks.

“The alert highlights the fact that society is becoming more violent every single day,” said Brian Harrell, a former assistant secretary at DHS. “Would-be criminals and domestic terrorists will always use the path of least resistance, and often times soft targets and crowded places are picked for this violence.”

A senior DHS official, speaking to reporters ahead of the release of the bulletin, said it describes the situation as “dynamic” because authorities are seeing a wider variety of people motivated by a broader range of grievances and incidents than in the past.

The upcoming decision from the Supreme Court, which could overturn Roe v. Wade, could lead to violence from either extremist supporters or opponents of abortion rights depending on the outcome, said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss some factors that went into the preparation of the bulletin.

Racial extremists may be motivated by immigration enforcement or whether the government continues to rely on Title 42, the public health order that has been used since the start of the coronavirus pandemic to prevent people from seeking asylum at the southwest border, DHS said.

The agency and the FBI are working with state and local law enforcement to raise awareness of the threat, and DHS has increased grant funding to local governments and religious organizations to improve security, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement released with the bulletin.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Judge blocks West Virginia private school voucher law

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A judge in West Virginia’s capital struck down a law on Wednesday that would have funneled state money into a program that incentivized families to pull their children out of K-12 public schools. Immediately following the ruling, the state’s attorney general said his office plans to appeal. Kanawha County Circuit Court […]
1 day ago
FILE - Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani listens to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey La...
Associated Press

Treasury sanctions Iranian petrochemical firms tied to Asia

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department said Wednesday that it has sanctioned a group of front companies and individuals tied to the sale and shipment of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products to East Asia. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed the sanctions on several companies, including Iran-based Jam Petrochemical Co., which has exported hundreds […]
1 day ago
FILE - The Pfizer logo is displayed at the company's headquarters, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. The F...
Associated Press

US allows pharmacists to prescribe Pfizer’s COVID pill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pharmacists can prescribe the leading COVID-19 pill directly to patients under a new U.S. policy announced Wednesday that’s intended to expand use of Pfizer’s drug Paxlovid. The Food and Drug Administration said pharmacists can begin screening patients to see if they are eligible for Paxlovid and then prescribe the medication, which has […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Video: Police smash man’s head to ground in parking arrest

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Law enforcement officials in Rhode Island are looking into the conduct of two longtime Providence police officers shown on video smashing a handcuffed man’s face into the pavement over the weekend. State Attorney General Peter Neronha and the Providence Police Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility have opened investigations into the arrest […]
1 day ago
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on T...
Associated Press

Fed: Sharply higher rates may be needed to quell inflation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials were concerned at their meeting last month that consumers were starting to anticipate higher inflation, and they signaled that much higher interest rates could be needed to restrain it. The policymakers also acknowledged, in minutes from their June 14-15 meeting released Wednesday, that their rate hikes could weaken the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Report: Justice Department probing Texas’ border mission

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating potential civil rights violations in Texas’ multibillion-dollar border security mission that has given the National Guard arrest powers and seen state authorities bus migrants to Washington, D.C., according to public records. A lawyer for the state police agency acknowledged the federal probe of Gov. […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
US sees heightened extremist threat heading into midterms