The Department of Homeland Security on Friday issued a new National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin warning of the threat of extremist violence as the coronavirus spreads widely again and the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks approaches.
“The Homeland continues to face a diverse and challenging threat environment leading up to and following the 20th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks as well religious holidays we assess could serve as a catalyst for acts of targeted violence,” the bulletin says. “These threats include those posed by domestic terrorists, individuals and groups engaged in grievance-based violence, and those inspired or motivated by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences.
“DHS remains committed to sharing timely information with the public about the heightened threat environment in order to protect communities across our country,” said Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “Today’s NTAS Bulletin advises the public about the heightened threat landscape we face and how DHS is working with our partners, at every level of government and in the community, to combat domestic terrorism and targeted violence in all its forms. We are committed to ensuring every initiative undertaken by DHS in response to the threat is consistent with privacy protections, civil rights and civil liberties, First Amendment-protected rights, and other applicable laws.”
DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will continue its close coordinating with state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement and public safety partners to ensure situational awareness of potential violence in their jurisdictions and will maintain open lines of communication with federal partners. DHS encourages the public to remain aware of the evolving threat environment and report suspicious activity to law enforcement officials.
In February, Secretary Mayorkas designated combating domestic violent extremism as a National Priority Area for the first time in FEMA grant programs. As a result, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments are required to spend at least 7.5 percent, or a minimum of $77 million, of their DHS grant awards toward combating this threat.
These initiatives are taken in concert with the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Domestic Terrorism Strategy which highlights the whole-of-government approach being take to enhance the analysis and distribution of actionable intelligence to stakeholders; prevent domestic terrorism recruitment and the mobilization to violence; disrupt and deter domestic terrorism activity; and confront long-term contributors to domestic terrorism.