World News – CA – US intelligence reports warn of extremist threat surrounding elections


WASHINGTON – US security officials warn the country’s violent extremists pose a threat to next month’s presidential election, amid what one official has called « witch-brew » growing political tensions, civil unrest and foreign disinformation campaigns

FBI and US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memos indicate threats from domestic extremists against election-related targets will likely increase as the November 3 election approaches

So far, those warnings have remained largely internal But the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security took the unusual step of publicly highlighting the threat in a little-noticed report on its website last week

« You have this witchcraft brew that really hasn’t happened in American history. And if it has, it’s been decades, if not centuries, » said Jared Maples, director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, which released the threat assessment

Nationwide protests against racial justice and police brutality in recent months have been largely peaceful, but some have led to violent clashes, including between extremist left and right-wing factions

The United States grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, high unemployment and a controversial presidential election in a polarized political climate

President Donald Trump last week refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election to Democratic rival Joe Biden Trump has sought to question the legitimacy of the election because of his concerns over postal voting, which Democrats have encouraged during the coronavirus pandemic

Documented cases of mail fraud are extremely rare, and election experts say it would be nearly impossible for foreign actors to disrupt an election by sending out bogus ballots

A recent internal FBI bulletin warned that domestic extremists with various ideologies would likely pose a growing threat to government and election-related targets in the run-up to elections, according to a person familiar with this The newsletter was first reported by Yahoo News

An FBI spokeswoman said the agency « regularly shares information with our law enforcement partners to help protect the communities it serves, » but declined to comment the specific document

An August 17 DHS memo said that extremists and other ideologically motivated actors « could mobilize quickly » to engage in election-related violence The document, also first reported by Yahoo News, has been confirmed to Reuters by someone who knows him

Lone White Supremacists and Other Lone Offenders with ‘Customized ideologies’ pose greatest threat of murderous violence, according to memo

A DHS spokesperson addressed acting Secretary Chad Wolf’s remarks to Reuters, in which he said the department « has taken unprecedented steps to address all forms of violent extremism, to include specifically threats posed by isolated offenders and small cells of people « 

Trump and his senior officials have so far failed to publicly highlight any threat from violent extremist groups to the election

Trump officials have singled out left-wing anarchists and anti-fascists during protests against police brutality and racism over the summer, but federal court records provide little evidence to show those arrested for acts of violence were affiliated with extreme left groups

Last week, however, the two top DHS officials admitted in congressional hearings that white supremacists pose the deadliest domestic threat to the United States in recent years.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congressional hearings earlier this month his agency was investigating violent extremists in the country, including white supremacists and anti-fascist groups He said the bulk « of the investigations » involved white supremacist groups

White supremacist, anti-Semitic, anti-government and related ideologies were linked to 77% of the 454 alleged killings of domestic extremists over the past decade, according to data compiled by the Anti-Defamation League, a New York-based company. York anti-hate advocacy organization, and presented at one of the Congressional hearings last week

National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot told Reuters Trump’s highest priority was to « protect the US from all threats, both foreign and domestic » when asked if the president had publicly responded to the electoral threat

Maples, the national director of New Jersey, said his agency had not released a pre-election threat assessment in 2016, but it was necessary this time around

« We want our allies and our citizens across the state to recognize that we need to think about it, » he said

The New Jersey report describes three possible scenarios for the November election: a quick election result; a protracted process where determining a winner takes months; and a legal battle that ends up going to the Supreme Court

Each of the scenarios could lead to extremist violence, with the possibility of deadly clashes between demonstrators and targeted violence against police officers, concludes the assessment

The agency’s report says the extremists are likely to be « anarchists, anti-government and racially motivated », but does not specify which groups pose the greatest threat

The national extremist threat has always been present, but it is gaining more and more attention this year, according to Mike Sena, president of the National Fusion Center Association, which represents state-run « fusion centers » and staffed with federal, state and local officials security personnel who monitor threats and facilitate information sharing

« During national electoral cycles, we have always been threatened by violent extremists, including terrorist organizations, » he said « With the news, it is more than ever in the spotlight »

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, a bipartisan think tank, said in a June report that the election result could incite far-right or far-left violence

« If President Trump loses the election, some extremists may use violence because they believe – even mistakenly – that there has been fraud or that the election of Democratic candidate Joe Biden will undermine their extremist goals. » , indicates the report « Alternatively, some on the far left could resort to terrorism if President Trump is re-elected »

Donald Trump, US Presidential Election, 2020

World News – CA – US Intelligence Reports Warn of Extremist Threat Around Election



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