National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released their most recent National Terrorism Advisory Bulletin. The bulletin allows DHS to communicate to the American public about heightened risks of terrorist threats, and how DHS is responding. This update is especially timely, as we are approaching “several religious holidays and associated mass gatherings that in the past have served as potential targets for acts of violence.” Some points of note in the bulletin include:

  • Following the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, violent extremist media branches of al-Qa’ida and its affiliates, as well as the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham (ISIS), have celebrated perceived victories over the United States and encouraged the use of violence by their followers and supporters to further their objectives. These foreign terrorist organizations will likely continue to maintain a highly visible online presence in an attempt to inspire U.S.-based individuals to engage in violent activity.

  • Through the remainder of 2021 and into 2022, racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists and anti-government/anti-authority violent extremists will continue to pose a threat to the United States. Pandemic-related stressors have contributed to increased societal strains and tensions, driving several plots by DVEs [domestic violent extremists], and they may contribute to more violence this and next year. If a new COVID-19 variant emerges and new public health restrictions are imposed as a result, anti-government violent extremists could potentially use the new restrictions as a rationale to target government or public health officials or facilities. In addition, some DVEs have attempted to use the relocation of Afghan nationals to the United States to exacerbate historical DVE grievances over immigration and the American Muslim community.

  • Ideologically motivated violent extremists fueled by personal grievances and violent extremist ideological beliefs continue to derive inspiration from and obtain operational guidance, including regarding the use of improvised explosive devices and small arms, through the consumption of information shared in online forums. The use of encrypted messaging by violent extremists may obscure operational indicators that provide specific warning of a pending act of violence.

For more information on topics related to this piece, visit the HSDL Featured Topics on Domestic (U.S.) Terrorism, Global Terrorism, and Lone Wolf Terrorism.

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