US security chiefs have warned of a heightened threat of domestic terrorism from people unhappy with the outcome of the November election.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin on Wednesday, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks.
The department did not cite a specific threat, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular date or event, such as July 4.
But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology and suggests that it sees violence aimed at overturning the election as akin to terrorism.
“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 bulletin said.
The alert comes at a tense time after the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump who were seeking to overturn the presidential election. DHS also noted violent riots in “recent days,” an apparent reference to events in Portland, Oregon, linked to anarchist groups.
The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate.
Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers.
The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations.