David Pekoske, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, has issued a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin after consultation with the intelligence community and law enforcement partners. There is currently a heightened threat environment across the United States that is likely to persist over the coming weeks.
DHS does not have any information to indicate a specific, credible plot; however, violent riots have continued in recent days and DHS says they 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.
Details in the bulletin included:
- Throughout 2020, Domestic Violent Extremists (DVEs) targeted individuals with opposing views engaged in First Amendment-protected, non-violent protest activity. DVEs motivated by a range of issues, including anger over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and police use of force have plotted and on occasion carried out attacks against government facilities.
- Long-standing racial and ethnic tension—including opposition to immigration—has driven DVE attacks, including a 2019 shooting in El Paso, Texas that killed 23 people.
- DHS is concerned these same drivers to violence will remain through early 2021 and some DVEs may be emboldened by the January 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. to target elected officials and government facilities.
- DHS remains concerned that Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVEs) inspired by foreign terrorist groups, who committed three attacks targeting government officials in 2020, remain a threat.
- Threats of violence against critical infrastructure, including the electric, telecommunications and healthcare sectors, increased in 2020 with violent extremists citing misinformation and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 for their actions.
- DHS, as well as other Federal agencies and law enforcement partners will continue to take precautions to protect people and infrastructure across the United States.
- DHS remains committed to preventing violence and threats meant to intimidate or coerce specific populations on the basis of their religion, race, ethnicity, identity or political views.
- DHS encourages state, local, tribal, and territorial homeland security partners to continue prioritizing physical security measures, particularly around government facilities, to protect people and critical infrastructure.
DHS is asking the public to report suspicious activity and threats of violence, including online activity, to local law enforcement, FBI Field Offices, or their local Fusion Center.
"Your choice can make a difference. Choose non-violent ways to make your voice heard and support friends and family in doing the same. Communities are strongest when they are not divided: Strengthen your community by standing together against violence," DHS says.