The US Department of Homeland Security issued a National Terrorism Alert System (NTAS) press release warning that the heightened threat of domestic terrorism will continue for several weeks after the inauguration of the president.
The information released suggests that “some ideologically motivated extremists opposed to the presidential change, fueled by false narratives, may continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin says.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is concerned about the continuing trend towards violence in the first months of 2021. Some homegrown extremists, inspired by the storming of the Capitol, may be planning “attacks on elected officials and government agencies,” the agency said. US intelligence agencies are also concerned about threats to the country’s infrastructure, including the energy sector, telecommunications and healthcare.
Joseph Fitsanakis, professor at the US Coastal Carolina University, notes that the Department of Homeland Security’s warning confirms the findings of independent experts.
“The data shows that the attack on the Capitol on January 6 was not the culmination of the anti-democratic movement, but rather the first shots, marking the beginning of a long period of rebellion against the government. This rebellion can take many forms, some being more violent than others. Consequently, state security institutions must prepare for a long-term terrorist threat led by various internal violent extremist factions. It seems to me that the statement of the Ministry of Homeland Security shows that the intelligence and security services have realized the protracted nature of the threat and are now actively preparing for it, ”the expert said.
Last week, the FBI arrested a 44-year-old California resident, who seized five homemade bombs, 49 firearms and 15,000 rounds of ammunition. The suspect intended to commit acts of violence against ideological opponents.
“Our focus is on people who plan to use firearms and explosive devices,” FBI special agent Craig Fair said at the time.
On Thursday, the acting Capitol Police Chief proposed permanent fences around the Congress building and other security measures.
“In light of recent events, I can clearly say that there is a need for significant improvements to the security infrastructure, including permanent fencing and the presence of a reserve force in the immediate vicinity of the Capitol,” – said acting. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman.
On Thursday, a 71-year-old West Virginia resident was arrested outside the Capitol with a pistol and 20 rounds of ammunition, as well as a list of senators and congressmen representing his state, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the need to strengthen security measures.
“We will probably need additional funds to enhance the security of members of Congress, given that the enemy is inside the House of Representatives – this is a threat that worries members of Congress in addition to what is happening outside,” she said.
Pelosi probably was referring to Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Green, who in 2019 accused the speaker of high treason by threatening her with the death penalty. Last week, another Republican legislator, Andy Harris, tried to smuggle a pistol into the building of Congress. Law enforcement agencies are investigating.
Meanwhile, Capitol Police are stepping up security at transport hubs in the Greater Washington region and taking other steps to keep lawmakers safe. In an email received Friday with the Associated Press, Acting Bailiff Timothy Blodgett said Capitol police would be stationed at local airports and Washington DC Railroad Station and added that an online portal was being created where lawmakers would report threats and suspicious activities directed against themselves, their helpers and families.
Meanwhile, the FBI said that so far the identity of 400 suspects who took part in the storming of the Capitol on January 6 have been identified, and criminal cases have been opened against 150 of them. The charges include illegal entry into federal property, theft and damage to government property, and assault on law enforcement officials.