DHS warns of attacks on government buildings and minority groups ahead of 2024 election
The Department of Homeland Security is warning of the potential for violence as the 2024 election cycle approaches that could target the nation’s critical infrastructure, faith-based institutions, government facilities and minority communities, according to a bulletin released Wednesday.
“In the coming months, DHS expects the threat environment to remain heightened and individuals may be motivated to violence by the perception of the 2024 general election cycle,” the National Bulletin said. Terrorism Advisory System, adding that “legislative or judicial decisions relating to socio-political issues” may also motivate attackers.
These perceptions, according to senior DHS officials, could arise if misinformation spreads in 2024, as it did in 2020, that the US election system is rigged or flawed.
The new bulletin, released as a previous bulletin outlining the terrorist threat landscape was set to expire, highlights recent incidents and online public communications to take the pulse of current and most threatening terrorist threats in the United States.
Among those recent events was the May 6 mass shooting in Allen, Texas, in which the assailant “held views consistent with racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism.”
The agency has now issued eight bulletins since January 2021, the month of the violent uprising on the US Capitol.
In a call with reporters Wednesday, senior DHS officials said recent charges and convictions against perpetrators of the Jan. 6 riot could serve to deter similar violence in the future. One official noted that recent events that were expected to be violent turned out to be small and peaceful, possibly because would-be attackers feared arrest and prosecution.
The bulletin indicates that the United States remains in an “enhanced threat environment.”
“Recent tragic events highlight the ever-escalating threat environment facing our country, and these threats are driven by violent extremists seeking to advance their ideological beliefs and personal grievances,” the secretary told Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, in a statement published on the bulletin.
“We work with partners at all levels of government, within the private sector and in local communities to keep Americans safe. We will continue to share information and intelligence, equip communities with training and resources, and fund safety improvement and prevention efforts through millions of dollars in grants.
Other potential targets of violence include schools, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals or events associated with the LGBTQ+ community, government personnel and law enforcement, the bulletin said.
Potential attackers could include both domestic violent extremists and those motivated by the ideology of foreign terrorist organizations, groups whose influence constituted the vast majority of the terrorist threat to the United States following the terrorist attacks in the United States. September 11, 2001.