0%
100%

Terror Groups Continue To Ramp Up Online Activity: DHS Bulletin Warns

November 11, 2021

By a Biometrica staffer

Terror actors are continuing to exploit online forums to influence and spread violent extremist narratives and promote violent activity, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a terror threat bulletin on Wednesday, Nov. 10. These threats are being exacerbated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the DHS added, in part due to perceived government overreach in implementation of public health safety measures.

The threat environment in the U.S. remains heightened, the updated National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin said. The country continues to face a diverse and challenging threat environment as it approaches several religious holidays and associated mass gatherings that have, in the past, served as potential targets for acts of violence, it added. Further, foreign terrorist organizations and domestic violent extremists (DVEs) continue to attempt to inspire potential followers to conduct attacks in the United States, including by exploiting recent events in Afghanistan.

However, the DHS also said as of Nov. 10, it was not aware of an imminent and credible threat to a specific location in the U.S.

“The Homeland continues to face a diverse and challenging threat environment as it approaches several religious holidays and associated mass gatherings that in the past have served as potential targets for acts of violence. These threats include those posed by individuals and small groups engaged in violence, including domestic violent extremists (DVEs) and those inspired or motivated by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences,” the DHS bulletin adds.

Terror groups like the Al Qaeda and ISIS are ramping up online activity to try to inspire attacks on the U.S. after the latter withdrew from Afghanistan, and after the 20th anniversary of 9/11. “These foreign terrorist organizations will likely continue to maintain a highly visible online presence in an attempt to inspire U.S.-based individuals to engage in violent activity,” the bulletin says.

The bulletin goes on to list a few other terror threats in the current environment, including:

  • Through the remainder of 2021 and into 2022, racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists and anti-government/anti-authority violent extremists will also continue to pose a threat, DHS says. Pandemic-related stressors have contributed to increased societal strains and tensions, driving several plots by DVEs, and they may contribute to more violence this and next year.¬†
  • Foreign and domestic threat actors, to include foreign intelligence services, foreign terrorist organizations, and DVEs, continue to introduce, amplify, and disseminate narratives online that promote violence, and have called for violence against elected officials, political representatives, government facilities, law enforcement, religious communities or commercial facilities, and perceived ideological opponents.
  • Foreign and domestic threat actors, to include foreign intelligence services, foreign terrorist organizations, and DVEs, continue to introduce, amplify, and disseminate narratives online that promote violence, and have called for violence against elected officials, political representatives, government facilities, law enforcement, religious communities or commercial facilities, and perceived ideological opponents.
  • Law enforcement officials have expressed concerns that the broad sharing of false narratives and conspiracy theories that endorse the use of violence will continue to gain traction, resulting in individuals or small groups embracing violent tactics to achieve their desired objectives. DHS is concerned that increased acts of violence, as well as targeted attacks against law enforcement, may strain local resources and challenge the ability of law enforcement to maintain the safety and security of local communities.