FLASH ALERT: OFFICIALS/LAW ENFORCEMENT MUST BE ON HIGH ALERT FOR ANTI-GOVERNMENT EXTREMISM

The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) is issuing a FLASH ALERT to government officials, any relevant security details, and law enforcement across the United States. The current CTG threat matrix indicates that there is a HIGH PROBABILITY that far-right anti-government extremists will target government officials and law enforcement. We base this assessment on an apparent upsurge of anti-government sentiment, social media activity, and the identified strategies of far-right anti-government extremists.


Image 1 [1]


These individuals may react violently to government interference in their lives, and are currently an elevated threat due to the measures implemented to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, something that was witnessed in the recently foiled plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer due to her state government’s COVID related measures.[4] Finally, there are those extremists primarily motivated by the current political polarization in the US, and who are likely to act while this remains an issue in US politics, especially during the presidential election period; which other anti-government extremists may target as well due to the symbolic significance of such an attack.[5] Despite the existence of these differing worldviews among anti-government extremists, it is however clear that anti-government extremists across the spectrum are currently an elevated terrorist threat due to the conditions in the USA.


Despite their differing motivations, most far-right anti-government extremists are currently likely to target government officials and law enforcement. This assertion is based on: (1) the established strategies of anti-government extremists, (2) social media activity, for example, the glorification of police killings on some sites and the previous trending of ‘#killyourlocaltyrants;’ which has since seemingly been shadow-banned by multiple social media networks, and, (3) recent incidents, such as the previously mentioned plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer, and attacks on law enforcement in California by affiliates of the Boogaloo movement.[6]


The tactics and weapons employed by anti-government extremists are relatively diverse. However, these individuals are often well equipped and have been known to make use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), including sophisticated devices.[7] Additionally, anti-government extremists may show a disregard for collateral damage, as was witnessed in the Oklahoma City bombing.[8] It has also been well documented that select extremists have received military training, which some pass on to those who hold similar views.[9] This does not only result in increased firearm proficiency for these extremists, but also some knowledge of military tactics, which they may employ in their attacks. While anti-government extremists are often supported by some kind of network, they do not necessarily act in groups, in fact, ‘lone wolf’ style attacks are believed to be a more likely threat, and can be as, or more deadly as group based attacks, as is evident by the previously mentioned Oklahoma City bombing.[10]


Government officials, their security details, and law enforcement should be aware of this threat, maintain an heightened level of vigilance, and take any necessary steps to decrease the risk of terrorist activity. One recommended measure would be to increase the security of individuals, locations, and facilities likely to be targeted, by for example, temporarily assigning or increasing the size of a security detail. The relevant parties should also take credible threats seriously, and remain alert for suspicious individuals or activity, especially anything that may be connected to the various forms of anti-government extremism. Furthermore, government agencies and security personnel should monitor hashtags related to the potential targets, and known anti-government extremist networks, for potential terrorist threats.


CONCLUSION


Our analysis indicates that there is a HIGH probability that far-right anti-government extremists will target government officials and law enforcement as long as conditions in the US remain conducive to anti-government extremism.


If any individuals are interested in learning more about security measures to protect their facilities and members, please contact us.


The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) is a unit of the global risk consulting and security firm Paladin 7. CTG proactively searches for and analyzes the threat of terrorism that comes from International Terrorist Organizations, Domestic Terrorist Organizations, and Individuals determined to inflict terror upon societies, organizations, and individuals. Our international and national security professionals set up protective measures to detect, deter, and prevent, discourage, and dissuade any terrorist organization or individual from carrying out an attack on organizations and individuals. We work to protect our clients from any terrorist threat or attack. We also work proactively with the proper authorities to find those in terrorist organizations and individuals who will cause harm and assist in bringing them to justice and mitigating the threat long-term.


[1] Kill Your Local Tyrants by Themadviking78, licensed under Public Domain

[2] Charleston shooting: Who are US white supremacists?, BBC, June 2015, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33198061

[3] A Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Explains Why This Time Is Different, The New Yorker, June 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/a-black-lives-matter-co-founder-explains-why-this-time-is-different

[4] 8th person arrested over alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, ABC News, October 2020, https://abcnews.go.com/US/8th-person-arrested-alleged-plot-kidnap-michigan-gov/story?id=73637771

[5] Right-Wing Extremists: A Looming Threat to the U.S. Election, Council on Foreign Relations, October 2020, https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/right-wing-extremists-looming-threat-us-election

[6] The Boogaloo Movement, Anti-Defamation League, N.d., https://www.adl.org/boogaloo

[7] 25 years after Oklahoma City bombing, anxiety remains high, AP News, April 2020, https://apnews.com/article/aca553750da7df122884db27423b8d95

[8] Ibid.  

[9] A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans, The Atlantic, November 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias-civil-war/616473/

[10] 25 years after Oklahoma City bombing, anxiety remains high, AP News, April 2020, https://apnews.com/article/aca553750da7df122884db27423b8d95

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