Homeland Security issues ‘heightened threat advisory’ because of fears of violence if Roe v. Wade is overturned, responses to the surge in illegal border crossings, the midterms and risk of ‘copycat’ Uvalde attacks
- DHS released a bulletin warning of a ‘dynamic’ threat situation propagated by ‘lone offenders and small groups’ in the coming months
- The threat assessment expires at the end of November, after the midterm races
- Possible targets include houses of worship, government figures and buildings, the media, schools, minorities, and critical US infrastructure
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a ‘heightened threat advisory’ on Tuesday, warning of an increased risk of ‘mass casualty violence’ nationwide fueled by extremist ideologies and personal beliefs.
Incidents could be motivated by the looming Supreme Court decision that could wipe out federal abortion protections granted by Roe v. Wade, after a leaked draft indicating the Justices were poised to do so sparked demonstrations across the country.
DHS also warned that ‘domestic violent extremists’ could use changes in the US-Mexico border enforcement system as a reason to carry out attacks against ‘minorities and law enforcement officials’ – just weeks after a judge blocked the Biden administration from lifting a pandemic-era expulsion policy known as Title 42.
It’s set to expire at the end of that month.
And as the country still reels from the horrific shooting of 19 elementary school students and their two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, officials warn that ‘copycat attacks’ are being encouraged in extremist online forums.
‘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,’ the bulletin reads.
The upcoming Supreme Court decision on abortion rights, due this month, is expected to come with a rise in politically motivated violence
Schools, faith-based institutions, the media, racial and religious minorities, government figures and critical US infrastructure are among the wide-ranging list of areas under threat.
These attacks are expected to be carried out by ‘lone offenders and small groups,’ such as the spate of mass shootings in recent weeks.
They are also expected to get the support of hostile foreign actors and religious extremists.
For example, DHS said it was investigating ‘a number of pro-al-Qa‘ida and ISIS users’ online celebrating an attack on a New York City subway station in which the assailant released two gas canisters on a rush hour train and opened fire.
It also highlights recent misinformation spread by Moscow that the US is responsible for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and is funding bioweapons labs for Kyiv.
‘Some of these actors have used these conspiracy theories to justify calls for violence against U.S. officials and institutions,’ the bulletin states.
‘Malign foreign actors’ could also seek to meddle in the upcoming midterms ‘in keeping with practices during previous election cycles.’
But DHS is also warning of a domestic threat due to the heightened political tension.
‘As the United States enters mid-term election season this year, we assess that calls for violence by domestic violent extremists directed at democratic institutions, political candidates, party offices, election events, and election workers will likely increase,’ the department states.
Tensions are expected to boil over much sooner when the Supreme Court releases its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, where Mississippi officials have asked Justices to repeal the landmark case Roe v. Wade.