The US Department of Homeland Security has again alleged growing threats of violence from online conspiracy theorists who expect ex-President Trump to return to power, even as it said it had no details on “planned actions.”
The agency warned of “an increasing but modest level of activity” by those advocating violence online, saying they may resort to more drastic measures if Donald Trump does not regain the presidency sometime this month, as they purportedly believe will happen.
“Some conspiracy theories associated with reinstating former President Trump have included calls for violence if desired outcomes are not realized,” the DHS said on Friday in an internal intelligence bulletin obtained by ABC News.
Over the last few days… there’s been much more public visibility, meaning the discussions and these theories have migrated away from being contained within the conspiracy and extremist online communities.
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However, despite the alarming tone of the document, the DHS went on to say that “we lack information on specific plots or planned actions,” instead citing generic “reporting” which suggests “these activities may occur during August 2021.”
Still, the agency said it does not have the “luxury” to wait around for evidence and must take a more proactive approach, adding that “lone offenders and small groups of individuals could mobilize to violence with little-to-no warning.” It did not elaborate on how it planned to prevent such unspecific threats.
Friday’s bulletin is far from Homeland’s first on the subject, as it’s issued a flurry of similar warnings about so-called “domestic extremists” since the riot at the US Capitol on January 6. The agency churned out two separate documents on the growing extremism threat in June, one also pointing to ‘QAnon’ conspiracy theories about Trump’s imminent return to office. Nonetheless, that bulletin also acknowledged that DHS had “no evidence” of any particular plans for violence at the time, but merely noted that some extremists have been influenced by conspiracy theories in the past.
The FBI has also joined the growing crusade against homegrown extremism, putting out its own series of breathless warnings about QAnon, Trump supporters and conspiracy theories since the unrest at the Capitol. One joint report with the DHS in June predicted that many believers in such theories would soon “disengage from the movement,” though that apparently did not come to pass given the steady stream of warnings since.
Last month, the bureau even went as far as to urge friends and family members of suspected violent extremists to report their loved ones to the feds. The request drew heated criticism online, with some blasting the FBI as the ‘American Stasi.’
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