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US Cites Domestic-terror Threat to Officials After Biden’s Win

January 28, 2021by Chris Strohm, Bloomberg News (TNS)
In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo violent rioters, loyal to President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol in Washington. The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department warned that U.S. officials and buildings face a heightened risk of attack in the coming weeks due to violent domestic extremists angry over issues including Joe Biden’s victory as president and coronavirus restrictions.

“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,” the department wrote in a National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin issued on Wednesday.

The department said “a heightened threat environment across the United States” will persist in the weeks following Biden’s inauguration. The bulletin, set to expire on April 30, reflects the lowest alert level, which describes general terrorism trends.

The department didn’t identify particular groups that represent the greatest threats. But federal law enforcement and intelligence officials have focused their efforts recently on combating right-wing domestic extremists and white supremacist groups after the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that sought to prevent Biden’s election win from being certified.

The Department of Homeland Security said in the bulletin that it’s concerned that extremists may be emboldened by the breach of the Capitol and may target elected officials and government facilities. In a separate statement, DHS said it doesn’t have any information about specific, credible plots.

The Justice Department said separately on Wednesday that a man from Napa County in California has been charged for allegedly possessing five homemade pipe bombs.

Text messages recovered from his phone indicated his belief that former President Donald Trump won reelection and showed an intent to attack “Democrats and places associated with Democrats” in an effort to return Trump to office, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

The House has impeached Trump, who spread false narratives about election fraud, for inciting the attack on the Capitol by a crowd of supporters. The Senate has scheduled a trial for the week of Feb. 8.

Along with the election outcome and coronavirus restrictions, violence also is being driven by “long-standing racial and ethnic tension — including opposition to immigration,” DHS said in its bulletin.

It indicated officials also remain concerned about the threat from domestic violent extremists who are inspired by foreign terrorist groups.

The Defense Department has decided to keep about 5,000 National Guard troops in Washington until at least mid-March at the request of U.S. Capitol Police amid continuing security threats. Justice Department and FBI officials told reporters on Tuesday that they have opened more than 400 case files related to the Capitol riot and plan to arrest and charge more people in the coming days and weeks.

The White House also has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to work with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to produce a comprehensive threat assessment on domestic violent extremism.

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Bloomberg’s Travis J Tritten contributed to this report.

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©2021 Bloomberg L.P. | Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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