An expected Supreme Court ruling on abortion, an increase of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and the midterm elections are potential triggers for extremist violence over the next six months, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday. The U.S. was in a “heightened threat environment” already, and these factors may worsen the situation, DHS said in the latest National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin, reports the Associated Press. “In the coming months, we expect the threat environment to become more dynamic as several high-profile events could be exploited to justify acts of violence against a range of possible targets,” DHS said.
The warning was the latest federal attempt to draw attention to the threat posed by domestic violent extremism, a shift from alerts about international terrorism that were featured by the agency after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Threats from overseas rate only passing mentions in the new bulletin. It notes that al-Qaida supporters celebrated the January standoff at a synagogue in Colleyville, Tx. It mentions that the Islamic State group called on supporters to carry out attacks in the U.S. to avenge the killings of the group’s leader and spokesman. Domestic violent extremists present the most pressing and potentially violent threat, the agency said. Its bulletin forecasts violence by domestic extremists directed at democratic institutions, candidates and election workers that will likely increase through the fall. A senior DHS official said the bulletin describes the situation as “dynamic” because authorities are seeing a wider variety of people motivated by a broader range of grievances and incidents than in the past.