US Department of Homeland Security warns of threats of internal extremism.
Miami World – AP
A national terrorism alert issued Friday by the US Department of Homeland Security warns that violent extremists could take advantage of the lifting of pandemic restrictions to launch attacks.
The alert does not mention specific threats, but warns of potential dangers from an increasingly complex and volatile mix that includes internal terrorists inspired by various motives, racial or ethnic hatred, and influences from abroad.
Those threats were exacerbated by COVID-19, which sparked conspiracy theories and deepened bitterness against the government in some sectors over the shutdown of the economy. As the pandemic situation improves, the alert says that new dangers loom.
“Violent extremists may try to exploit the lifting of restrictions in the United States to carry out attacks against a wide range of targets after previous limits on capacity in public places reduced opportunities for lethal attacks,” the bulletin says.
Without naming specific targets, he points out that historically, extremists motivated by racial and ethnic hatred attack religious institutions and businesses or congregations with large numbers of people.
The National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin issued by the Department of Homeland Security is an extension of another issued in the wake of the January 6 attack on the Capitol in Washington. That alert expires on Saturday.
The document reflects anxiety about domestic extremism in the country, especially that motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, which has been building for months, even under the previous government.
Concern for domestic extremists has somewhat overshadowed the focus on foreign terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, although the alert warns that both groups continue to try to inspire attacks within the country.
There are also adversaries such as Russia, China and Iran who, according to the alert, are amplifying conspiracy theories about the origins of the coronavirus and calls for violence against people of Asian origin.