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DHS warns of 'heightened threat environment' in US amid 'political tensions'

FOX News logo FOX News 11/30/2022 Brooke Singman
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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned Wednesday that the United States "continues to face a heightened threat environment," stressing that "heightened political tensions" in the country "could contribute" to individuals mobilizing to violence. 

Mayorkas issued a National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin Thursday – the seventh issued since January 2021.

"Our homeland continues to face a heightened threat environment – as we have seen, tragically, in recent acts of targeted violence – and is driven by violent extremists seeking to further a political or social goal or act on a grievance," Mayorkas said in a statement, stressing that DHS is working with partners across the government, private sector and local communities by sharing information, and providing "millions of dollars in grant funding for security enhancement and prevention."

DHS said Wednesday that lone offenders and small groups "motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat to the homeland."

DHS BULLETIN WARNS OF 'HEIGHTENED THREAT ENVIRONMENT,' VIOLENT MONTHS AHEAD

The bulletin warned that in the coming months, officials expect the threat environment to "remain heightened," while saying threat actors "could exploit several upcoming events to justify or commit acts of violence." 

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Reuters/Michael A. McCoy © REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Reuters/Michael A. McCoy

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"These targets include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, the LGBTQI+ community, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media and perceived ideological opponents," DHS said.

DHS said "several recent attacks, plots, and threats of violence demonstrate the continued dynamic and complex nature of the threat environment in the United States."

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"Domestic actors and foreign terrorist organizations – who remain intent on attacking America – continue to maintain a visible presence online in attempts to motivate supporters to conduct attacks in the homeland," DHS said. "Threat actors have recently mobilized to violence, citing factors such as reactions to current events and adherence to violent extremist ideologies, and some domestic violent extremists who have conducted attacks have cited previous attacks and attackers as inspiration."

DHS said "several recent attacks, plots, and threats of violence demonstrate the continued dynamic and complex nature of the threat environment in the United States." AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File © AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File DHS said "several recent attacks, plots, and threats of violence demonstrate the continued dynamic and complex nature of the threat environment in the United States." AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File

But the DHS bulletin specifically pointed to "political" violence," noting that violence surrounding the November midterm elections was "isolated," but that officials "remain vigilant that heightened political tensions in the country could contribute to individuals mobilizing to violence based on personalized grievances."

"Perceptions of government overreach continue to drive individuals to attempt to commit violence targeting government officials and law enforcement officers," the bulletin states. "Some domestic violent extremists have expressed grievances based on perceptions that the government is overstepping its Constitutional authorities or failing to perform its duties."

The bulletin comes after more than 100 crisis pregnancy centers, pro-life organizations and churches have been attacked, some more than once, since the May 2 leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade.

The FBI told Fox News Digital that it had launched an investigation into the targeted attacks against pro-life organizations and churches.

The bulletin also states that DHS conducts "recurring threat briefings with private sector and state, local, tribal, territorial, and campus partners, including to inform security planning efforts."

The DHS bulletin specifically warned about "political" violence. AP Photo/Evan Vucci © AP Photo/Evan Vucci The DHS bulletin specifically warned about "political" violence. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

"DHS remains committed to working with partners to identify and prevent all forms of terrorism and targeted violence, and to support law enforcement efforts to keep communities safe," the bulletin states.

The bulletin expires May 24, 2023.

Fox News' Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.

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