Montecruz Foto via Flickr

The Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center published a Joint Intelligence Bulletin on Wednesday that warns that in the wake of the Capitol riot, domestic violent extremists ‘very likely pose the greatest domestic terrorism threats in 2021.’ The report was unclassified but labeled For Official Use Only (FOUO).

The document titled ‘Domestic Violent Extremists Emboldened in Aftermath of Capitol Breach, Elevated Domestic Terrorism Threat of Violence Likely Amid Political Transitions and Beyond’ explains how the Capitol attack on January 6 will inspire further attacks.


It does not, however, seem to address how earlier violent rioting by the Left, in Washington, D.C. and across America for months, also strongly contributed to the current threat mix. I noted this issue earlier here.

The Daily Mail provided photos of parts of the report. It notes that continuing political tensions and Covid lockdowns may inspire new threats fueled by racial division, QAnon conspiracies and other fringe views:

In 2021, threats and plotting of illegal activity, including destruction of property and violence targeting officials at all levels of the government, law enforcement, journalists, and infrastructure, as well as sporadic violence surrounding lawful protests, rallies, demonstrations, and other gatherings by [domestic violent extremists] will very likely increase due to renewed measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, socio-political conditions and perceived government overreach.

What makes these extremists more dangerous than others according to this report, is that some of them see violence ‘as a step toward achieving their initiatives’ and consider death ‘as an act of martyrdom.’

The report focuses on a range of Domestic Violent Extremists (DVEs) threats, including Militia Violent Extremists (MVEs), Racially Motivated Violent Extremists (RMVEs) and Anti-Authority Violent Extremists (AAVEs). In my view, the RMVEs can include both White and Black extremists. While the AAVEs should include anarchists on both the Left and Right Boogaloo bois and Antifa.

Government officials and property are not the only targets, though. Journalists may also be threatened by violent attacks, notes the report:

Criminal activity by rioters targeting members of the media at the breach is also indicative of an increased and prolonged threat of targeted violence against members of the press due to perceived complicity in a system hostile to their beliefs.

‘Murder the media’ was reportedly found scratched onto a door in the Capitol after the attack and rioting.

Sadly, as I noted above, from my reading of the selected portions of the report, it does not specifically address how months of violent BLM and Antifa rioting against police and federal facilities raised the domestic terrorism risk well before the Capitol attack. Some references to extremism based on grievances against “racial hierarchies” are hidden in the footnotes.

They deserve a more prominent and specific focus in this and other reports.

The violent leftist-inspired rioting from 2020, and related Marxist ‘revolutionary’ ideologies, should also be seen as part of the ongoing mix of violent threats. Watching leftist and anarchist rioters loot, burn and destroy federal buildings and private property, and attack local and federal law enforcement for months in cities throughout America mostly with impunity and often incited and enabled by sympathetic politicians – certainly encouraged other violent actors.

Those leftist extremists too will now also feel emboldened and provoked to ramp up their own violent activities and agendas, adding to the volatile mix and threat matrix.

Ignoring the other violent rioting and attacks on police which helped lead us to where we now are, and where we are heading, is a serious flaw in this, and other similar intelligence reports and analysis.




Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Mac93
Mac93
1 year ago

What kind of man is Crespo🤔

Daniel Doyle
Daniel Doyle
1 year ago

What is elevating the risk of future ‘issues’ is not the screwballs at the capital but, the demonrats who are exploiting it for their heinous purposes. They don’t want over half of this country to have a voice and trump is a threat to that goal.