Using a federal system designed to warn all Americans about terrorist threats to the U.S. homeland, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning that anger "fueled by false narratives," especially unfounded claims about the 2020 presidential election, could lead some inside the country to launch attacks in the coming weeks.
"Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence," according to a bulletin issued Wednesday through the DHS National Terrorist Advisory System -- or NTAS.
The system was last used to issue a public warning a year ago, when DHS issued a bulletin over potential retaliation by Iran for the U.S. assassination of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq days earlier. A year before that, DHS issued a bulletin through the same system to highlight the threat from foreign terrorist groups like ISIS or al-Qaida.
But over the past year, domestic terrorists "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," and "long-standing racial and ethnic tension -- including opposition to immigration -- has driven [domestic terrorist] attacks," the bulletin issued Wednesday said.
"DHS is concerned these same drivers to violence will remain through early 2021 and some [domestic terrorists] 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," the bulletin added.
Violent supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol three weeks ago, many of them believing -- based on unfounded claims from Trump himself -- that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from Trump through fraud.
Wednesday's public warning echoes what intelligence bulletins sent privately to law enforcement officials in recent weeks have said, underscoring a continued threat from violence-prone individuals who still believe President Joe Biden's election was illegitimate.
The NTAS system "recognizes that Americans all share responsibility for the nation's security, and should always be aware of the heightened risk of terrorist attack in the United States and what they should do," DHS says on its website.
The system was created in 2011, replacing the color-coded alerts that were implemented in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
This report was featured in the Thursday, Jan. 28, 2020, episode of “Start Here,” ABC News’ daily news podcast.
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