National security agencies concerned about increased threats and violence ahead of midterms
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Law enforcement around the country is beefing up security days before Election Day in reaction to the increase in threats and violence against lawmakers and election workers.
Federal agencies have sent out a new intelligence bulletin warning of increased domestic terror threats. The memo was released coincidentally on the same day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was attacked at the couple’s home in San Francisco last week.
The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Capitol Police and National Counterterrorism Center warning Americans to be on the lookout for domestic extremists who could endanger candidates, election workers and elected officials.
“The bulletin is helpful, obviously, in that it puts these events on people’s radars. But really, there’s kind of two issues with that,” said former CIA Officer and FBI Special Agent Tracy Walder.
Walder, the only woman to have served on the operations side of the CIA and FBI, says the government is likely only hearing an increase in “chatter” about a potential threat but not specifics. Also, she says individual bad actors being the main concern is troubling.
“Those are, I hate to sound sort of pessimistic, but are virtually impossible (to stop) because you’re almost playing Whac-A-Mole. You get one down and then another one pops up,” Walder said.
Walder’s thoughts are similar to the man who investigators say left Paul Pelosi with a fractured skull.
“The attack on Mr. Pelosi is deeply disturbing and part of a larger trend,” said Suzanne Almeida, director of state operations for Common Cause.
The attack happened as a rise in threats against lawmakers investigated by the U.S. Capitol Police has doubled since the last midterm cycle, according to the Associated Press.
The government watchdog group Common Cause says it is more concerned about this and not other election issues like voter intimidation because most states have systems in place to make sure voters can safely vote.
“The Election Protection Coalition in most states has a plan to respond, will have volunteers at targeted polling locations, will be watching online for violent rhetoric, dis and misinformation,” Almeida said.
Elections officials across the country say they have been preparing for both physical and cybersecurity concerns leading up to Election Day. However, Walder thinks the biggest threats are what could happen once the outcome of the election is revealed.
She thinks January 6th has wrongfully taught some people to take physical action if you do not like the results. Walder also says though if you hear of something about to happen to say something.
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