The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a dire warning to law-enforcement agencies Monday, citing a high risk of extremist violence in the coming weeks due to factors including the easing of COVID restrictions, the anniversaries of past domestic terror attacks, and the QAnon conspiracy theory that former president Donald Trump will be reinstated in August.
"In a sense, we have the perfect storm," one senior law enforcement official told ABC News. "It's a very volatile moment and it's about to be a more target-rich environment."
In a bulletin to 18,000 law-enforcement agencies nationwide, DHS wrote: "In recent weeks, domestic violent extremists (DVEs) motivated by various violent ideologies have continued to advocate violence and plan attacks. As of 16 June, racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist-white supremacists (RMVE-WSs) were sharing downloadable links to a publication discussing targeting mass gatherings, critical infrastructure, and law enforcement officers. ... Sociopolitical factors that possibly contributed to violent acts in 2020, including social isolation and other pandemic-related stressors and divisive political climates, continue to exist."
The bulletin also notes the upcoming anniversaries of two domestic terror attacks — the mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart on Aug. 3, 2019, and the Charlottesville white-supremacist rally and attack of Aug. 12, 2017.
"Additionally, QAnon conspiracy theory adherents continue to promote the idea that the former president will return to power in August," the DHS bulletin states, according to Politico. "We have no evidence of associated threats with the August date but historically some DVEs have conducted violence in furtherance of conspiracy theories."
Outside a Trump rally last week, his supporters warned of "a civil war" if he isn't reinstated. Also last week, a top DHS official told members of Congress he was concerned about the potential for violence associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Watch ABC News' report on the DHS bulletin below.