Terrorism

Terrorism including criminal acts of violence or psychological warfare designed to further political or ideological goals.

Forms/Tools of Terrorism

Some forms of terrorism involve specialization of methods, ideology, or targets.

Law Enforcement

FBI

From the FBI's website: “Protecting the United States from terrorist attacks is the FBI’s number one priority. The Bureau works closely with its partners to neutralize terrorist cells and operatives here in the United States, to help dismantle extremist networks worldwide, and to cut off financing and other forms of support provided to foreign terrorist organizations.”

Psychology of Terrorism

Citizens As Government Targets

SUMMARY OF THE TERRORISM THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES The United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information (MDM) introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors.

These threat actors seek to exacerbate societal friction to sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions to encourage unrest, which could potentially inspire acts of violence. Mass casualty attacks and other acts of targeted violence conducted by lone offenders and small groups acting in furtherance of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances pose an ongoing threat to the nation. While the conditions underlying the heightened threat landscape have not significantly changed over the last year, the convergence of the following factors has increased the volatility, unpredictability, and complexity of the threat environment-

  • (1) the proliferation of false or
  • misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions;
  • (2) continued calls for violence directed at
  • U.S. critical infrastructure; soft targets and mass gatherings; faith-based institutions, such as churches, synagogues, and mosques; institutions of
  • higher education; racial and religious minorities; government facilities and personnel, including law enforcement and the military; the media; and
  • perceived ideological opponents; and
  • (3) calls by foreign terrorist organizations for attacks on the United States based on recent events.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The primary terrorism-related threat to the United States continues to stem from lone offenders or small cells of individuals who are motivated by a range of foreign and/or domestic grievances often cultivated through the consumption of certain online content.

The convergence of violent extremist ideologies, false or misleading narratives, and conspiracy theories have and will continue to contribute to a heightened threat of violence in the United States. Key factors contributing to the current heightened threat environment include-

  • (1) The proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine
  • public trust in U.S. government institutions;
  • For example, there is widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19. Grievances associated with these themes inspired violent extremist attacks during 2021. Malign foreign powers have and continue to amplify these false or misleading narratives in efforts to damage the United States.
  • As COVID-19 restrictions continue to decrease nationwide, increased access to commercial and government facilities and the rising number of mass gatherings could provide increased opportunities for individuals looking to commit acts of violence to do so, often with little or no warning.
  • Meanwhile, COVID-19 mitigation measures—particularly COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates—have been used by domestic violent extremists to justify violence since 2020 and could continue to inspire these extremists to target government, healthcare, and academic institutions that they associate with those measures.1)
HOW WE ARE RESPONDING
  • DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) continue to share timely and actionable information and intelligence with the broadest audience possible. This includes sharing information and intelligence with our partners across every level of government and in the private sector.
  • We conduct recurring threat briefings with private sector and state, local, tribal, territorial, and campus partners,including to inform security planning efforts. DHS remains committed to working with our partners to identify and prevent all forms of terrorism and targeted violence, and to support law enforcement efforts to keep our communities safe.
  • DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis established a new, dedicated domestic terrorism branch to produce the sound, timely intelligence needed to counter related threats. The Department expanded its evaluation of online activity as part of its efforts to assessand prevent acts of violence, while ensuring the protection of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.
  • DHS’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships CP3 provides communities with resources and tools to help prevent individuals from radicalizing to violence. In 2021, CP3 awarded about $20 million in grants through its Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program. CP3 also partners with local communities to raise awareness about how to prevent violence.
  • In 2021, DHS designated domestic violent extremism as a “National Priority Area” within its Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP), resulting in at least $77 million being spent on preventing, preparing for, protecting against, and responding to related threats.
  • In 2021, DHS’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) provided $180 million in funding to support target hardening and other physical security enhancements to non-profit organizations at high risk of terrorist attack. DHS is working with public and private sector partners, as well as foreign counterparts, to identify and evaluate MDM, including false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories spread on social media and other online platforms that endorse or could inspire violence.
  • DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) works with public and private sector partners – including U.S. critical infrastructure owners and operators – to mitigate risk against our cyber and physical infrastructure and increase nationwide cybersecurity resilience.

If You See Something, Say Something® 2)

US Government PsyOps - see MKULTRA

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