DHS Warns Of ‘Emboldened’ Far-right Extremists Post-Capitol Insurrection

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: A protester holds a Trump flag inside the US Capitol Building near the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect ... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: A protester holds a Trump flag inside the US Capitol Building near the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS

In a national counter-terrorism bulletin, the Department of Homeland Security warned that the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol could lead to ongoing violent attacks.

“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,” the bulletin reads.

Issued by DHS’s National Terrorism Advisory System, the notice warned that the relative success of the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt in breaching the Capitol building may have “emboldened” extremists to “target elected officials and government facilities.”

The bulletin itself is a striking example of how far the threat of political violence in the U.S. has gone, in the aftermath of an attack on the Democratic process that left five dead.

The Biden administration has emphasized in its first week that addressing the threat of far-right extremism will be a priority, though the fact that the extremist movement in question is closely tied up with the last President leaves many counterterrorism experts confounded about the best approach.

The bulletin also notes that violent extremists are motivated by “anger over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and police use of force.”

The Jan. 6 attack has sparked fears of a nascent pro-Trump insurgency among those who believe the myth that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

The concerns go to lingering questions over whether those who believe the myth will merge with far-right, white supremacist extremists that are ready and willing to commit acts of violence.

The bulletin emphasized that “a heightened threat environment” across the country “will persist in the weeks following the successful Presidential inauguration.”

DHS added that threats could be posed to government buildings around the country, as well as to “critical infrastructure, including the electric, telecommunications and healthcare sectors.”

The Biden administration is staffing up to ascertain the threat and develop a plan to address the threat of far-right extremism.

Since the Jan. 6 attack, the FBI has moved to crack down on those who participated in the insurrection. And while more attacks on federal and state buildings were expected in the days after the Jan. 6 attack, none materialized amid a beefed up law enforcement response.

But the DHS bulletin warns of a longer fight, with the threat of violence looming for months into the future.


Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: