US Security Chief: Holidays, 9/11 Anniversary May Be Catalyst for Violence
By Staff, Agencies
US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas warned on Friday about potential security threats that may emerge amid upcoming holidays and on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attack.
The report expressed concern over "racially – or ethnically – motivated violent extremists [RMVEs]" targeting houses of worship such as synagogues, as they had done historically. The concern is that the upcoming holidays may "provide increased targets of opportunity for violence though there are currently no credible or imminent threats identified to these locations."
The Department of Homeland Security further explained that the country "continues to face a diverse and challenging threat environment leading up to and following the 20th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks as well religious holidays we assess could serve as a catalyst for acts of targeted violence," the statement said. "These threats include those posed by domestic terrorists, individuals and groups engaged in grievance-based violence, and those inspired or motivated by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences."
He further warned of such threats "exploiting online forums" to spread extremist ideologies and therein promote violence.
"Such threats are also exacerbated by impacts of the ongoing global pandemic, including grievances over public health safety measures and perceived government restrictions," he said.
The statement reiterated the concerns over al-Qaeda's reported efforts to inspire extremists within the country.
The bulletin was issued on Friday and expires on September 11.
The statement further reiterated the ongoing threat of RMVEs and extremists who oppose the government and other such authorities, stating that these will continue to be a threat priority to the US.
"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 statement read, explaining that there are also concerns over security amid coronavirus restrictions.
The Department of Homeland Security will therefore work alongside law enforcement to maintain awareness of the potential violence in the coming weeks. The department is also releasing authoritative sources of information that "debunk" the misinformation which may encourage extremism and violence, particularly online.
They asked the public to remain vigilant, be prepared, and stay informed.