After attack on Capitol, threat of domestic terrorism in U.S. grows

After attack on Capitol, threat of domestic terrorism in U.S. grows

The Department of Homeland Security warns of a growing domestic terrorist threat following the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The riot could embolden extremists and pave the way for additional attacks, intelligence officials said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued a bulletin on national terrorism that warns of increased risks of violence from people motivated by anti-government sentiment after the election of Joe Biden. The bulletin says a riot by a crowd of Donald Trump supporters outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 could provoke extremists across the country.

The report points to an overall “heightened threat in the United States,” which experts say will continue for weeks to come.

The federal government often warns local law enforcement agencies through bulletins about the prospect of violence associated with a specific event or date, such as the Fourth of July holiday. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s national terrorism advisory system, is notable because it effectively engages the Biden administration in a politically charged debate about how to describe or characterize actions motivated by political ideology and suggests that it identifies election cancellation violence as terrorism.

The wording of the document also suggests that national security officials see a link between recent violence over the past year motivated by anti-government grievances, including restrictions over the coronavirus, the 2020 election results and the use of force by police. It also highlights acts of racially motivated violence and the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terrorist organizations.