US spy agencies warn of growing domestic terrorism threat

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Mar 18, 2021, 11:44 AM(IST)

Representative image Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The assessment issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said racially motivated extremists were most likely to conduct major attacks against civilians, while militia members typically target police and government personnel and buildings.

US spy agencies have said that racially motivated extremists and militia extremists present the most lethal domestic terrorism threats, adding the threats could grow this year.

The assessment issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said racially motivated extremists were most likely to conduct major attacks against civilians, while militia members typically target police and government personnel and buildings.

The report defines “racially-motivated extremists” as those with “ideological agendas bias, often related to race or ethnicity”.

Alongside racially-motivated violence, militia violence “present the most lethal [domestic violent extremism] threat” to “law enforcement and government personnel and facilities”.

The agencies who contributed to the report, including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center, said that domestic extremists who promote white racial superiority have potentially troubling contacts with foreign extremists and that a small number of American extremists have traveled abroad to network with overseas counterparts.

The agencies said that other domestic extremist categories which concern government investigators include animal rights and environmental activists, anti-abortion protesters, anarchists and people who call themselves sovereign citizens who "believe they are immune from government authority and laws."

The report concluded that “escalating support from persons in the United States or abroad, growing perceptions of government overreach related to legal or policy changes and disruptions, and high-profile attacks spurring follow-on attacks” could cause the threat of violence to increase in 2021 and beyond.

The agencies said that recent political and social developments -- such as claims by Republican former President Donald Trump and his supporters about fraud in the recent US presidential election, restrictions related to COVID-19, fallout from the January 6 US Capitol riot, and conspiracy theories - "will almost certainly spur" some domestic extremists "to try to engage in violence this year."

Five people died after the riot, including one US Capitol Police officer.

(with inputs)

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