Saturday, December 3, 2022 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Feds Warn That Election Conspiracy Theorists Are Planning More Violence

Three weeks after the deadly storm of the Capitol, a terrorism bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security shows the country remains on high alert.

WASHINGTON (CN) — Extremists opposed to the election of President Joe Biden have not gone away, prompting the Department of Homeland Security to release a terror bulletin on Wednesday that says things could turn violent.

Issued by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security David Pekoske, the warning notes a “heightened threat environment across the United States,” coming to a boil amid “long-standing racial and ethnic tension” and “anger over Covid-19 restrictions [and] 2020 election results.”

“Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” according to the post from the National Terrorism Advisory System.

The advisory will remain in effect through April 30, with Homeland Security saying in a statement Wednesday that it is not aware of “a specific, credible plot.”

“Violent riots have continued in recent days and we remain concerned that individuals frustrated with the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances and ideological causes fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors to incite or commit violence,” the agency said. 

While DHS issues warnings through its National Terrorism Advisory System periodically, it is unusual for the concerns to highlight domestic extremists. Typically, the posts warn of risks that involve foreign governments or radical groups.

In the Senate, an impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump is imminent after he spent weeks stoking supporters to contest his loss of the 2020 election. Hours before an armed mob of Trump supporters briefly overtook the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Trump held a rally at the White House where he claimed falsely that he won the election “by a landslide,” and that supporters would have to “fight like hell” and go to the Capitol to stop a ceremony where lawmakers would certify the outcome of the election.

Police killed one rioter who tried to enter the Speaker’s Lobby, and one officer later died from wounds inflicted by the mob.

The article of impeachment charging Trump with incitement points not only to his words at the Jan. 6 rally but to his emboldening of white supremacists and other far-right-wing groups with his anti-immigration policies and talk of “law and order” during Black Lives Matter protests over the summer.

Pekoske, who issued the advisory warning, is currently warming the seat at the top of Homeland Security for Alejandro Mayorkas, President Biden’s pick to head the department, whose Senate confirmation process is underway. 

Mayorkas would be the first Latino and the first immigrant to hold the job. 

Mayorkas was born in Cuba to a Sephardic Jewish father and to a mother who fled Europe in the late 1930s, seeking escape from Nazi death camps.

When Fidel Castro took power, the family uprooted to Miami, Florida. 

Mayorkas previously served as U.S. attorney under former President Bill Clinton and head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under former President Barack Obama. He was influential in establishing Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.