(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Homeland Security expects violence could occur “for weeks” from domestic violent extremists following the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, according to a bulletin obtained exclusively by ABC News.
“We expect violence could occur for weeks following the release, particularly as DVEs may be mobilized to respond to changes in state laws and ballot measures on abortion stemming from the decision,” the bulletin, dated June 24, said. “We base this assessment on an observed increase in violent incidents across the United States following the unauthorized disclosure in May of a draft majority opinion on the case,” the bulletin said.
In the May bulletin, DHS warned that extremists might infiltrate the abortion debate.
According to DHS, domestic violent extremists are racially motived with perceived grievances.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said domestic violent extremists posed one of the biggest threats to the country.
DHS also assesses that federal judges and state government officials could likely be the target for violence ins response to the court’s decision.
“Federal and state government officials — including judges — and facilities probably are most at risk for violence in response to the decision,” the bulletin said. “In May, a network of loosely affiliated suspected violent extremists, known as “Jane’s Revenge” — which has been linked to arson attacks against the buildings of ideological opponents — shared a post online encouraging a “night of rage” following the Supreme Court announcement, stating, “we need the state to feel our full wrath” and “we need them to be afraid of us.'”
The department also cites the recent arrest of a California man who traveled to the Washington area to allegedly kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
In a statement, a DHS spokesperson says they respect Americans rights to protest.
“Americans’ freedom of speech and right to peacefully protest are fundamental Constitutional rights. Those rights do not extend to violence and other illegal activity,” the spokesperson said. “DHS will continue working with our partners across every level of government to share timely information and to support law enforcement efforts to keep our communities safe.”
Those protests, along with abortion clinics will “likely” be a target, DHS says.
“First [A]mendment-protected events following the released decision also probably will be attractive targets for a range of DVEs to commit violence against ideological opponents,” the bulletin said. “On 22 June, an unidentified social media user posted content encouraging violence in response to the “night of rage” and told followers to “prepare to defend” themselves and “don’t lock and load either. Load then lock,” according to US Capitol Police.”
Additionally, DHS says that faith based institutions will likely continue to be targets as well as family advocacy centers.
“In May and June, suspected DVEs opposed to abortion rights conducted arson attacks targeting a reproductive healthcare facility in Wyoming and a vacant building that was formerly a reproductive healthcare facility in Washington,” the department said. “Also, in June, a suspected racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist posted online calling for attacks against abortion-related targets in reaction to “Jane’s Revenge” activity.”
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