Feds warn that racist extremists, anti-government militias were emboldened by Capitol breach

A pro-Trump mob at the Capitol last week.
(Image credit: Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

Federal authorities on Wednesday issued a joint intelligence bulletin cautioning that last week's assault on the Capitol will be a "significant driver of violence" for white supremacists and armed militia groups.

The bulletin, dated Jan. 13 and sent by the National Counterterrorism Center and the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, warns that extremists looking to trigger a race war or civil war "may exploit the aftermath of the Capitol breach by conducting attacks to destabilize and force a climatic conflict in the United States." Racist extremists and anti-government militias "very likely pose the greatest domestic terrorism threats in 2021," the agencies said.

The breaching of the Capitol is emboldening extremists, the bulletin warns, and baseless conspiracy theories from QAnon will likely inspire some to "engage in more sporadic, lone-actor, or small-cell violence against" racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, government officials, and law enforcement. Additionally, individuals who have accepted President Trump's false claims that the election was "stolen" may also "adopt the belief that there is no political situation to address their grievances and violent action is necessary." Read more at The New York Times.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.