WASHINGTON – The United States remains in a heightened threat environment. Lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat to the Homeland.
Domestic actors and foreign terrorist organizations continue to maintain a visible presence online in attempts to motivate supporters to conduct attacks in the Homeland.
Threat actors have recently mobilized to violence, citing factors such as reactions to current events and adherence to violent extremist ideologies.
In the coming months, threat actors could exploit several upcoming events to justify or commit acts of violence, including certifications related to the midterm elections, the holiday season and associated large gatherings, the marking of two years since the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and potential sociopolitical developments connected to ideological beliefs or personal hostility.
Targets of potential violence include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, the LGBTQI+ community, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents.
Issued: November 30, 2022 02:00 pm
Expires: May 24, 2023 02:00 pm
- Several recent attacks, plots, and threats of violence demonstrate the continued dynamic and complex nature of the threat environment in the United States.
- Some domestic violent extremists who have conducted attacks have cited previous attacks and attackers as inspiration. Following the late November shooting at an LGBTQI+ bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado—which remains under investigation—we have observed actors on forums known to post racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist content praising the alleged attacker. Similarly, some domestic violent extremists in the United States praised an October 2022 shooting at a LGBTQI+ bar in Slovakia and encouraged additional violence. The attacker in Slovakia posted a manifesto online espousing white supremacist beliefs and his admiration for prior attackers, including some within the United States.
- Recent incidents have highlighted the enduring threat to faith-based communities, including the Jewish community. In early November 2022, an individual in New Jersey was arrested for sharing a manifesto online that threatened attacks on synagogues. The individual admitted to writing the document, in which he claimed to be motivated by the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) and hatred towards Jewish people.
- While violence surrounding the November midterm elections was isolated, we remain vigilant that heightened political tensions in the country could contribute to individuals mobilizing to violence based on personalized grievances. Over the past few months we observed general calls for violence targeting elected officials, candidates, and ballot drop box locations.
- In October 2022 in San Francisco, California, an individual allegedly broke into the home of a Member of Congress and attacked their spouse with a hammer. The individual arrested for this crime was allegedly inspired by partisan grievances and conspiracy theories.
- Several elected officials, candidates, and political organizations received threatening letters with suspicious powders, which, while found not to be dangerous or toxic, were likely intended to target the political process. Voting for the midterm elections has concluded, but certifications for some elections will continue through December 2022, and some social media users have sought to justify the use of violence in response to perceptions that the midterm elections were fraudulent, citing technical difficulties at voting sites and delays in certifications.
- Perceptions of government overreach continue to drive individuals to attempt to commit violence targeting government officials and law enforcement officers. In August 2022, an individual wearing body armor and armed with a firearm and a nail gun attempted to forcibly enter the Cincinnati, Ohio Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). When uniformed officers responded, the individual fled the scene, resulting in a pursuit and eventual shots fired by responding officers. In the days preceding the attack, the individual called on others to acquire weapons and kill federal law enforcement, claiming he felt he was fighting in a “civil war.”
- Some domestic violent extremists have expressed grievances based on perceptions that the government is overstepping its Constitutional authorities or failing to perform its duties. Historically, issues related to immigration and abortion have been cited by prior attackers as inspiration for violence. Potential changes in border security enforcement policy, an increase in noncitizens attempting to enter the U.S., or other immigration-related developments may heighten these calls for violence.
How We Are Responding
DHS works with partners across every level of government, in the private sector, and in local communities to keep Americans safe, including through the following examples of our resources and support:
- DHS and the FBI continue to share timely and actionable information and intelligence with the broadest audience possible. This includes sharing information and intelligence with our partners across every level of government and in the private sector. We conduct recurring threat briefings with private sector and state, local, tribal, territorial, and campus partners, including to inform security planning efforts. DHS remains committed to working with our partners to identify and prevent all forms of terrorism and targeted violence, and to support law enforcement efforts to keep our communities safe.
- In July 2022, DHS reconstituted the Faith-based Security Advisory Council (FBSAC). The FBSAC serves as an advisory body with the purpose of providing guidance and recommendations to the Secretary on the development and implementation of strategies, policies, programs, and information sharing practices that will further the Department’s ability to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from acts of targeted violence or terrorism, major disasters, cyberattacks, or other threats or emergencies against places of worship, faith communities, and faith-based organizations.
- DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), the FBI, and the National Counterterrorism Center in 2021 jointly updated behavioral indicators of U.S. extremist mobilization to violence. Further, I&A’s National Threat Evaluation and Reporting Program continues to provide tools and resources for federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners on preventing terrorism and targeted violence, including online suspicious activity reporting training.
- DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) works with government and private sector partners – including owners and operators of critical infrastructure and public gathering places – to enhance security and mitigate risks posed by acts of terrorism and targeted violence through its network of Protective Security Advisors and resources addressing Active Shooters, School Safety, Bombing Prevention, and Soft Targets-Crowded Places.
- DHS’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) educates and trains stakeholders on how to identify indicators of radicalization to violence, where to seek help, and the resources that are available to prevent targeted violence and terrorism. In 2022, CP3 awarded about $20 million in grants through its Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) Grant Program.
- In 2021 and 2022, DHS designated domestic violent extremism as a “National Priority Area” within its Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP), enabling our partners to access critical funds that help prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to related threats.
- In 2022, DHS’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) provided over $250 million in funding to support target hardening and other physical security enhancements to non-profit organizations at high risk of terrorist attack.
- DHS remains focused on recognizing disinformation that threatens the security of the American people, including disinformation by foreign states such as Russia, China, and Iran, or other adversaries, including as transnational criminal organizations and human smuggling organizations.
- SchoolSafety.gov consolidates school safety-related resources from across the government. Through this website, the K-12 academic community can also connect with school safety officials and develop school safety plans.
- The DHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships continues to engage a coalition of faith-based and community organizations, including members of the Faith-based Security Advisory Council, to help build the capacity of faith-based and community organizations seeking to protect their places of worship and community spaces.
Resources to Stay Safe
Stay Informed and Prepared
- Be prepared for emergency situations and remain aware of circumstances that may place you at risk. Make note of your surroundings and the nearest security personnel.
- Keep yourself safe online and maintain digital and media literacy to recognize and build resilience to false or misleading narratives.
- Review Department of Homeland Security (DHS) resources for how to better protect businesses, houses of worship, and schools, and ensure the safety of public gatherings.
- Prepare for potential active shooter incidents, build counter-improvised explosive device capabilities, and enhance awareness of terrorist threats, to include bomb threats.
- Learn more about community-based resources including Community Awareness Briefings to help prevent individuals from radicalizing to violence.
- The Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI) is a collaborative effort by DHS, the FBI, and law enforcement partners to identify and report threats of terrorism and other related criminal activity.
- The Power of Hello Campaign and De-Escalation Series help you observe and evaluate suspicious behaviors, including information to mitigate potential risks, and obtain help when necessary.
- View webinars on Building Partnerships, and Preventing Targeted Violence and Protecting the Safety and Security of Houses of Worship.
Report Potential Threats
- Listen to local authorities and public safety officials.
- If You See Something, Say Something® Report suspicious activity and threats of violence, including online threats, to local law enforcement, FBI Field Offices, or your local Fusion Center. Call 911 in case of emergency.
- If you know someone who is struggling with mental health issues or may pose a danger to themselves or others, seek help.
If You See Something, Say Something®. Report suspicious activity to local law enforcement or call 911.
The National Terrorism Advisory System provides Americans with alert information on homeland security threats. It is distributed by the Department of Homeland Security. More information is available at: www.dhs.gov/advisories. To receive mobile updates: twitter.com/dhsgov
If You See Something Say Something® used with permission of the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority.