DHS Intel bulletin warns of risks as attack anniversaries near

It's the second time in two weeks that DHS has raised concerns about violence connected to conspiracy theories and domestic extremism.

DHS Intel bulletin warns of risks as attack anniversaries near

The Department of Homeland Security has warned its law enforcement partners about concerns about violent attacks in the lead-up to the anniversaries of two domestic terror attacks, according to a recent intelligence bulletin reviewed by POLITICO. The department sent out the bulletin Monday.

“While violent extremists typically have not conducted attacks on dates they perceive as significant, DHS continues to review publicly available social media for explicit threats of violence in the lead-up to anniversaries of DVE [domestic violent extremist] attacks, including the 2019 El Paso shooting on 3 August and the 2017 Charlottesville car attack on 12 August,” the bulletin says.

On August 3, 2019, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, leaving 22 people dead. The shooter told law enforcement that he conducted the attack hoping to kill Mexicans. Before the attack, he allegedly posted a racist manifesto online that cited the Christchurch massacre — a terror attack on two mosques in New Zealand — as inspiration. In Charlottesville, Va., meanwhile, a white supremacist drove his car into a group of people protesting against racism. He killed one woman in that attack.

“Additionally, Qanon conspiracy theory adherents continue to promote the idea that the former president will return to power in August,” the bulletin continues. “We have no evidence of associated threats with the August date but historically some DVEs have conducted violence in furtherance of conspiracy theories.”

This isn’t the first time the department has raised concerns about violence connected to conspiracy theories and domestic extremism. Last week, a top counterterrorism official told members of Congress in a private briefing that officials there were monitoring online chatter about the baseless theory that former President Donald Trump could be reinstated as president in August.