Fears of extremist violence go 'well beyond' January 6 herdenking

A year after the aanval op die Amerikaanse Capitol, homeland security and law enforcement officials nationwide are bracing for potential “ongekende” levels of violence this year as midterm elections kick into gear and the pandemic continues to affect everyday life.

The country remains polarized, and many people are angry and frustrated about their individual selves or society’s conditions after two years of Covid-19 upheaval, turbulent economic conditions and government restrictions, sources and non-governmental researchers told CNN.
Late last month in a string of unrelated voorvalle, a gunman killed five people in the Denver gebied, a man was stopped on his way to Washington, DC with weapons and ahit list,” and a New Year’s Eve fire at Planned Parenthood facility in Tennessee was declared arson. All these incidents come as officials are already preparing for protests in the nation’s capital later this month.
    Societal divisions coupled with online and media content that is saturated with conspiracy theories and disinformation has led officials to worry that the levels of violence in 2022 could be “ongekende,” a federal law enforcement official said.
      While much attention focused on the January 6 herdenking, “from a law enforcement perspective, it goes well beyond that,” het die amptenaar gesê. Another concern is that the volatility will only increase as the election cycle progresses and we get closer to the 2022 middeltermynverkiesings, het hulle bygevoeg.
        Fractures in US society and the spread of misinformation are likely to be exacerbated during the election cycle, het die amptenaar gesê, pointing out that public figures, such as those running for office, those who hold elected office and those in the media who comment about these issues will only increase their activities.
        It’s not a pleasant forecast,” said Peter Simi, an associate professor at Chapman University who studies extremist groups and violence. “I think we see the threats mounting. And really transitioning into what we might call ‘an everyday insurgency.'
          One year after the January 6 Oproer van die Capitol, far-right extremists still contend the 2020 verkiesing is gesteel, Volgens recent report from SITE Intelligence Group, a non-governmental organization that tracks online extremist activity.
          Egter, these extremist groups have dispersed their focus on various issues, soos entstowwe, Covid-19 conspiracy theories and Biden administration policies, the report found.
          “Om duidelik te wees, egter, the extremist momentum behind January 6 has not diminishedit has spread in all directions,” SITE director Rita Katz said.
          That energy has been redirected toward Covid-19 mitigation measures, the migrant crisis at the Southern border, critical race theory and elections, het sy bygevoeg.
          She also pointed to the upcoming Congressional elections, “which will be centered on the same hot-button topics these violent extremist actors have pivoted towards.

          Conspiratorial election and voting fraud theories are a major concern

          Ideologies of hate, vals inligting, false narratives are primary sources of the threat landscape in the US today, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN Wednesday.
          The divisiveness in our country is really fueling it as well,” hy het gesê. “Words matter. And the words of leaders matter a lot. And that can actually fuel the spread of false information and can drive people to violence.
          Conspiracy theories about election fraud, which probably contributed to the breach of the US Capitol last year, continue to resonate among domestic violent extremists, volgens a recent DHS intelligence assessment verkry deur CNN.
          Mayorkas told reporters this week that the department is “baie, very focused on the security and integrity of our election processes,” when asked if he was worried about threats connected to the upcoming midterm election cycle.
          Die afgelope jaar, there has been a dramatic uptick of threats made against lawmakers, met 9,600 in 2021 alleen, US Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said this week. A senior Capitol security official previously attributed that increase in part toa more bitter and partisan political environment and citizens for whom the issues that they’re angry about are core value and identity issues.
          As always, the problem remains sifting through the noise of angry tweeters versus actual threats, the security official said, en voeg by dat die “meerderheid” of threats don’trepresent a risk of real violence.
          DHS intelligence chief John Cohen told KNX News radio op Woensdag, “What keeps me up at night, and I know is keeping up a number of my colleagues around the country, is not just the anniversary of January 6, but the threat environment as we enter 2022.
          Cohen pointed to the polarization of US society, as well as efforts from foreign intelligence services, terrorist organizations and domestic extremist thought leaders who seek to exacerbate social tensions, undermine credibility in the US government and inspire violence by planting and spreading online and media content.
          There continues to be asteady tempo of mass casualty attacks by angry, disaffected people who are inspired by the content that they’re consuming online,” he said during the interview.
          Mass casualty incidents, byvoorbeeld, in Denver, Atlanta, Indianapolis over the past year all displayed signs of the volatile threats concerning law enforcement today, with some suspects coming to the attention of law enforcement before they carried out attacks.
          Verlede maand, a California man was stopped by the Cass County Sheriff’s department in Iowa with ahit listof people he intended to kill, including Anthony Fauci and Mark Zuckerberg, according to a federal criminal complaint. He had the address of the White House in his GPS and told investigators he would kill President Joe Biden, die klag gesê. The suspect’s attorney told the court he intends to rely upon an insanity defense.

          What’s law enforcement doing about it?

          Mayorkas said that DHS has increased and improved information sharing with local communities over the past year to help counter the threat from domestic terrorism, as well as added local grant funding and established a new, dedicated domestic terrorism branch.
          Many in law enforcement het been working to ramp up information sharing over the past year. Byvoorbeeld, law enforcement officials nationwide were recently able to see there were rondom 200 threats to schools across the country that had proliferated on TikTok, a law enforcement source said.
          “Voorheen, we had no capability to see all those threats at the same time, where they were and what type of threats there were,” het die bron gesê, pointing to the failures leading up the January 6, 2021.
          Dit gesê, there is still on the federal government side, a “large disconnect between the many portals that the government manages,” het die bron gesê.
          DHS, FBI and local authorities all manage different systems that are difficult to coordinate, het die bron bygevoeg.
          Verlede maand, Cohen raised concerns about the ability for law enforcement to manage threats across the US.
          We do not yet have, across the United States, a consistent level of capability that is designed to enable threat assessment and threat management activities at the local level,” Cohen said during a George Washington University forum.
          Mayorkas agreed last week, sê, “We are in fact, seeing an uneven level of capabilities in local communities.
          Neither official mentioned specific communities, but the secretary said the unevenness underscores the importance of information sharing and intelligence sharing among law enforcement and homeland security officials.
          The suspect in the recent metro Denver shooting spree, byvoorbeeld, was investigated by Denver police in 2020 and early 2021 but charges were never filed. The gunmanidentified as Lyndon James McLeod, 47, foreshadowed the rampage in a series of books he wrote under a pseudonym, and he used the names of actual victims in his writings, CNN berig.
          This individual was on the radar of law enforcement,” Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen previously said without elaborating.
          Five people were killed in the shootings and several were wounded, including a policewoman.
          Without providing specifics, Mayorkas said that in the last several weeks, DHS has seen the benefits of information sharing, in a situationwhere a particular community was not necessarily as developed in its apparatus, or evolved as others, but nevertheless, through the information we imparted to it, it was able to identify a potential threat before that threat materialized and inform us.

          ‘Asleep at the wheel

          A year after the January 6 Oproer van die Capitol, the extremism landscape isall over the map,” Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, aan CNN gesê.
          There are traditional White supremacists, anti-government groups and accelerationists, as well as asignificant group of folksthat are interested in ISIS and Al Qaeda, hy het gesê. The objective of accelerationism is to foment divisiveness and polarization that will induce the collapse of the existing order and spark a civil war, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, which recently wrote about the perils of the movement.
          The lack of large-scale events similar to the January 6 riot over the past year, is a reflection of a fracturing movement combined with the efforts of law enforcement, according to Hughes.
          Looking ahead to the election season, Hughes pointed out that while there has been a rise in threats against election officials and public officials, several elections have safely taken place since last January.
            When it comes to far-right extremism, Simi, the Chapman University professor, aan CNN gesê, “We’ve been asleep at the wheel for a long time,” in part making it difficult for the public to understand the multiple threats facing the US.
            Part of that is because it’s an insider threat. It’s easier to point to something from the outside, those that are attacking us from outside,” hy het gesê, referencing the terrorism of 9/11.

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