Aug 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DHS warns of increasing threat of violence from election conspiracies

Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 in Washington, DC.

The Department of Homeland Security said there's been an uptick in online calls for violence related to election conspiracy theories.

Driving the news: "Some conspiracy theories associated with reinstating former President Trump have included calls for violence if desired outcomes are not realized," per a DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis bulletin first obtained by ABC News.

  • "Over the last few days what has occurred is 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, to where they're being the topic of discussion on web forums, or more public web forums, and even within the sort of media ecosystem," a senior DHS official told ABC News.
  • The DHS bulletin says that they do not have specific evidence that there is an imminent threat, per ABC.

But, but, but: "Past circumstances have illustrated that calls for violence could expand rapidly in the public domain and may be occurring outside of publicly available channels. As such, lone offenders and small groups of individuals could mobilize to violence with little-to-no warning," the bulletin says.

  • DHS told ABC News that one of the lessons learned from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is "that information that may reflect a growing threat may be communicated on public forums."
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