Homeland Security has issued a ‘heightened threat’ warning for the holidays due to increased concerns about domestic terrorism.
WASHINGTON — As the holiday season approaches, the United States faces a “heightened threat environment” from domestic extremists and those inspired by foreign terrorist groups, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
While the Department of Homeland Security said it had no credible information on a specific threat, it warns in its latest national terrorism advisory bulletin that mass gatherings for upcoming religious holidays could be targets, including from people and organizations looking to capitalize on resentment over pandemic lockdowns and recent events like the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“The Department of Homeland Security continues to face a diverse and challenging threat environment,” the report stated.
This is the agency’s fourth bulletin this year, highlighting the threat posed by a volatile mix of domestic extremists, often motivated by racially or ethnically motivated hatred, and homegrown extremists inspired by overseas groups.
It reflects a shift in focus from al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations following the creation of DHS in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
It also comes in a climate fueled by online propaganda and conspiracy theories, as well as outrage over the pandemic’s economic effects.
Extremists will continue to pose a “significant threat” until at least 2022, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
During an appearance before the House Intelligence Committee last week, Timothy Langan, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism division, made similar points.
He claimed that the threat of domestic terrorism has “significantly increased” in the last 18 months, with the FBI currently investigating 2,700 violent domestic extremists.
“The greatest terrorism threat facing our homeland is posed by lone actors in small cells who radicalize online and seek to attack soft targets with readily available weapons,” Langan said.
This bulletin’s language is similar to previous bulletins, but it includes new language based on recent events.
It warns that foreign terrorist organizations such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State may exploit the US withdrawal from Afghanistan to incite violence among their supporters.
At the same time, some domestic extremists have attempted to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment by resettling Afghan refugees in the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security has stated that it is cooperating with the FBI, state…
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