US security agency warns of potential violence leading up to 9/11 anniversary

With American's tensions running high, new bulletin cautions of violence carried out by domestic terrorists.

US Capitol police attend a morning briefing outside the US Capitol in Washington. Reuters
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The US Department of Homeland Security issued a new national terrorism advisory bulletin on Friday, urging caution in the weeks leading up to the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York City and Washington.

“The homeland continues to face a diverse and challenging threat environment leading up to and following the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks as well as religious holidays we assess could serve as a catalyst for acts of targeted violence,” the bulletin read.

“These threats include those posed by domestic terrorists, individuals and groups engaged in grievance-based violence, and those inspired or motivated by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences,” it continued.

The agency also pointed to how Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula recently published its Inspire magazine in English online for the first time in four years, raising concerns of foreign attempts to inspire acts of terrorism.

The bulletin comes about a month before the anniversary of the attacks, which resulted in about 3,000 deaths at the World Trade Centre in lower Manhattan, New York City, the Pentagon building in Washington, and in Pennsylvania.

It urges law enforcement to be on high alert through November 11.

The Homeland Security agency has reported a recent rise in threats from people who are angry about the US handling of the pandemic and the return of coronavirus mitigation measures, groups calling for a race war, and political contingents that believe the 2020 election was stolen from former president Donald Trump.

The rampant spread of misinformation surrounding these issues is only worsening current tension.

This week, parents threatened violence against school board members in Franklin, Tennessee after they recommended a mask mandate for elementary school-aged children returning to class. The YouTube video shared on Twitter shows an angry mob screaming at parents as they exited the meeting.

The perpetuation of “The Big Lie”, Mr Trump’s insistence that he won the 2020 presidential election, has led 17 US states to pass voter restriction laws. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has also reported an increase in violence by white hate groups since the election.

CNN also reported on Friday that the agency is seeing an increase in calls for violence similar to the days leading up to the insurrection at the US Capitol.

“It's very similar to the stuff we saw prior to January 6,” US Homeland Security Intelligence chief Jeff Cohen told CNN.

Updated: April 27, 2022, 11:38 AM