Federal law enforcement warns that Capitol riot will be ‘significant driver’ of future far-right violence

Alex Woodward

An intelligence bulletin shared among federal law enforcement agencies warns that the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January will fuel far-right violence leading up to the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden.

White nationalists, militia groups, “boogaloo” adherents and other “domestic violence extremists” may "exploit the aftermath of the Capitol breach by conducting attacks to destabilize and force a climactic conflict in the United States,” according to the bulletin obtained by The New York Times.

The attacks in Washington DC and the deaths of rioters, including a woman who was fatally shot by Capitol Police, will “very likely serve as a significant driver of violence” and galvanise groups and inspire “more sporadic, lone-actor or small-cell violence” against others, according to the bulletin, released by the FBI, Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism Center.

Federal law enforcement’s latest warning echoes previous testimony, internal reporting and intelligence bulletins chronicling the rising threats of far-right violence and white nationalists, and the mass organising on social media.

Last year, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the House Judiciary Committee that the threat of far-right domestic violent extremism has risen to a "national threat priority" and poses a "steady threat of violence and economic harm" to the US while its underlying drivers – including "perceptions of government or law enforcement overreach, socio-political conditions, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and reactions to legislative actions" – persist.

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