DHS Releases Bulletin Ahead of 20th Anniversary of 9/11
- By Matt Jones
- Aug 24, 2021
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin as the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks approaches. The bulletin states that officials are concerned about domestic terrorists, groups and individuals involved in “grievance-based violence, and those inspired or motivated by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences.”
The bulletin states that terrorist groups have turned to digital spaces like online forums to spread extremist rhetoric and promote acts of violence. DHS also cautions that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic—including grievances about government restrictions and public health safety measures—could play a role in future potential attacks.
“Through the remainder of 2021, racially- or ethnically-motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) and anti-government/anti-authority violent extremists will remain a national threat priority for the United States,” the bulletin reads. “These extremists may seek to exploit the emergence of COVID-19 variants by viewing the potential re-establishment of public health restrictions across the United States as a rationale to conduct attacks. Pandemic-related stressors have contributed to increased societal strains and tensions, driving several plots by domestic violent extremists, and they may contribute to more violence this year.”
The document further warns that Al-Qaida has released its first English-language copy of Inspire magazine in more than four years, suggesting a renewed attempt to reach U.S.-based individuals. It also notes that mass-casualty domestic violent extremist attacks by RMVEs tend to target houses of worship, crowded commercial facilities and other large gatherings.
DHS says that it will continue identifying and evaluating calls for violence, focusing especially on online disinformation campaigns. It urges the public to stay aware of potential threats and report any unusually suspicious activity to local law enforcement or FBI Field Offices.