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Proud Boys members rallying for Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., in December 2020. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Violent extremists motivated by political or racial bias pose an "elevated threat" to the United States this year, according to an unclassified threat assessment released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The report comes more than two months after a violent mob of former President Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building, resulting in a riot that killed five people. The assessment echoes warnings from other U.S. officials and federal agencies.

  • Earlier this month, FBI director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, calling the Jan. 6 siege an act of domestic terrorism, saying the issue had been metastasizing across the country."

What they're saying: "Enduring [domestic violent extremists] motivations pertaining to biases against minority populations and perceived government overreach will almost certainly continue to drive DVE radicalization and mobilization to violence," ODNI said in the report.

  • "Newer sociopolitical developments—such as narratives of fraud in the recent general election, the emboldening impact of the violent breach of the US Capitol, conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and conspiracy theories promoting violence—will almost certainly spur some DVEs to try to engage in violence this year."
  • "DVE attackers often radicalize independently by consuming violent extremist material online and mobilize without direction from a violent extremist organization, making detection and disruption difficult."

The big picture: In January, the Biden administration released its plan to assess and combat domestic violent extremism, which included the request for an assessment on the threat posed by white supremacists and other domestic extremist groups.

Go deeper

2 mins ago - World

Israel's "change bloc" collapses, leaving Netanyahu in charge

Bennett (L) with Netanyahu in 2015. Photo: Gali Tibbon/AFP via Getty Images

In a dramatic shift that comes amid fighting in the Gaza strip and clashes between Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel, right-wing kingmaker Naftali Bennett has announced he will no longer seek an alternative government to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Why it matters: Bennett had been on the verge of a power-sharing deal with centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid that would have made him prime minister for two years until Lapid rotated into the job. Without Bennett, Lapid has no path to a majority, and Israel will almost certainly head for its fifth election since 2019 with Netanyahu still in his post.

CDC says fully vaccinated people don't have to wear masks indoors

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Erin Clark-Pool/Getty Images

The CDC announced in new guidance Thursday that anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, regardless of crowd size.

What they're saying: "If you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will say at a White House press briefing.

Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid hackers nearly $5 million in ransom

Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Colonial Pipeline paid hackers linked to the DarkSide cybercrime group nearly $5 million in cryptocurrency after last week's ransomware attack, Bloomberg first reported and the New York Times confirmed.

Why it matters: The breach of the largest refined fuels pipeline in the U.S. triggered new concerns about the vulnerability of the country's increasingly digitized energy systems.