The former head of the National Counterterrorism Center said he would not be surprised if right-wing domestic terrorist groups stage attacks in the United States around this November’s presidential election.
“It certainly wouldn’t surprise me, particularly if the administration loses,” said Russ Travers, who was the center’s acting director when he was fired by President Trump’s hand-picked acting director of national intelligence.
Trump, who is behind in all national polls, has repeatedly claimed that the expected widespread use of mail-in ballots during a national pandemic will lead to “massive fraud and abuse” and an election result that is “rigged” against him. “The political rhetoric is such that you could very easily see some backlash” from white supremacist or other right-wing terror groups, Travers said.
Travers is not alone in his assessment. An Aug. 17 Department of Homeland Security analysis also warns of possible election-related attacks. “We assess ideologically-motivated violent extremists and other violent actors could quickly mobilize to threaten or engage in violence against election or campaign-related targets in response to perceived partisan and policy-based grievances,” says the document, which was obtained by Yahoo News.
While the DHS document appears to indicate that such attacks might come from across the political spectrum, white supremacists are the only group it cites specifically. “We continue to assess lone offender white supremacist extremists and other lone offender domestic terrorist actors with personalized ideologies, including those based on grievances against a target’s perceived or actual political affiliation, policies or worldview, pose the greatest threat of lethal violence,” says the document, which was prepared by DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis in coordination with several other offices, as well as with the National Counterterrorism Center.