“These threats are driven by violent extremists seeking to further their ideological beliefs and personal grievances,” he said. “We are working with partners at all levels of government, within the private sector and in local communities to keep Americans safe.”
As with previous advisories, the latest bulletin warns that the greatest threat comes from individuals and small groups prepared to act either for personal reasons or for a variety of ideological beliefs.
“We continue to hear and see calls from domestic violent extremists based on ideological views, calls for violence,” according to a senior official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity based on ground rules established by DHS. “The pace and seriousness of those types of calls remains high and occurs on a regular basis.”
For example, the DHS bulletin points to the May 6 shooting in Allen, Texas, noting that the gunman, Mauricio Garcia, espoused the beliefs of both white supremacy and involuntary celibacy or “incel.”
It also highlighted a series of criminal acts in Georgia dating back to 2022, with the suspects allegedly citing a range of views, from anarchism to animal rights, to plot an attack on a planned public safety training center. .
And government facilities are just part of a long list of potential targets, including the country’s critical infrastructure, religious groups, those associated with the LGBTQIA+ community, racial and ethnic minorities, and schools.
Senior national security officials said Wednesday that part of what makes the threat environment so dangerous is that the targets, as in some recent school shootings, may have little or nothing to do with the shooter’s motivation.
“It’s not even clear that the school itself was linked in any way to the person’s ideological narrative or complaint,” said a second senior national security official, who like the first spoke on condition of anonymity. “It just serves as an opportunistic target.”
The official said that despite serious concerns, there is no intelligence at this time to suggest that specific groups or individuals are preparing for attacks. But some of the trends are worrying.
“There appears to be an increase in calls for violence based on the neo-Nazi, white nationalist theme,” the first official said.
“That [neo-Nazi] the issue is being raised more effectively now than it was several years ago,” the official added, noting that several prominent white supremacist texts have been gaining ground on online forums after being turned into audiobooks.
Homeland security officials said they are also tracking the impact of calls, both public and online, about violence against migrants arriving at the US southern border.
And they see potential danger as candidates begin to announce their intentions to run for president and the 2024 election cycle begins.
“It is our hope that questions or concerns that people may have about that election cycle and the electoral process may, in fact, become a source of motivation for a person to take that extra step toward a violent extremist act,” the second official said. .
The danger will grow, he said, “if the terminology surrounding elections begins to speak of them in existential or apocalyptic terms.”
In addition, DHS officials said they remain concerned about threats from nation-state actors like Iran, as well as the potential threat from terrorist groups like Islamic State and al-Qaeda, though some officials in recent months have played down the threat. probability of foreign terrorism. attack on US soil.