‘Significant’ rise in abortion-related violent threats after Supreme Court draft opinion leaks, DHS warns

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion leaks, the US Supreme Court police reported a “significant increase in violent threats,” including a series of social media posts targeting certain incumbent judges and the Supreme Court building. The Department of Homeland Security said it has registered an increase in threats against “reproductive health personnel and facilities.”

The threats were detailed in an intelligence bulletin issued by DHS to state and local law enforcement agencies across the country. The memo, titled “Potential for Public Security Threats in Response to the Abortion Debate” and dated May 13, was published by the DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

DHS said federal law enforcement agencies have opened investigations into several online threats.

The National Capital Region Threat Intelligence Consortium — the Washington, DC regional intelligence center tasked with tracking domestic terrorism threats — has referred at least 25 violent online messages to partner agencies for further investigation. According to the bulletin, some of the threats on social media involved “burning or storming the U.S. Supreme Court and murdering judges and their clerks, members of Congress and lawful protesters.”

Supreme Court of the United States
On Tuesday, May 10, 2022 in Washington, D.C., fences were placed around the United States Supreme Court complex

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The bulletin warned of an emerging “threat to government personnel and facilities, religious and reproductive health care and ideological opponents” and marks the first intelligence bulletin issued explicitly to state and local law enforcement agencies regarding abortion-related extremism in the wake of the draft. -leak of opinion.

“The number of violent threats directed against Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, other officials, clergy, health officials and providers, and others involved in the abortion debate is likely to continue and may increase leading up to and after release of the Court’s ruling. official ruling,” the bulletin added.

The Supreme Court is expected to make its final ruling on the Mississippi abortion case next month.

Since July 2021, there have been at least four incidents of violence between “ideological opponents” at abortion-related protests in Oregon and California, where protesters “used smoke grenades, paintball guns, batons, chemical irritants and bats, according to press reports.” reads the memo.

Historically, a Justice Department task force has recorded at least 10 murders committed by violent abortionists, as well as dozens of bombings and arson attacks, all targeting abortion providers and facilities. However, the Supreme Court leak could lead to threats from both pro- and anti-abortion supporters.

The DHS Bureau of Intelligence and Analysis said in its bulletin that “complaints of restricting access to abortion could fuel violence by pro-choice abortion-related violent extremists and other [domestic violent extremists.]†

Law enforcement officers alert to threats over Supreme Court abortion case


Arson investigators investigate a fire that broke out on May 8 at the headquarters of anti-abortion group Wisconsin Family Action. [then] neither are you” and contains symbols “typically used by anarchist violent extremists and others to convey anti-law enforcement sentiment,” according to the DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

Law enforcement officers are still working with fire officials to determine the exact cause.

In the wake of the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion, federal law enforcement agencies have identified threats associated with racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism — the deadliest form of domestic violent extremism, according to recent assessments by the US intelligence community

The DHS analysts cited social media posts promoting online violence against protesters protesting outside judges’ homes. According to the bulletin, a message noted that “dead activists in front of a… [Supreme Court] justice house will kick off the arc.” The acronym refers to “Boogaloo,” a common term among extremists motivated by conspiracy theories of white supremacy.

Intelligence officials also assessed that certain anti-abortion stories have been linked to well-known conspiracy theories such as “save white children” and “fight white genocide.”

The department also warned of copycat attacks that threaten abortion-related violence in its memo, citing a social media administrator on a racially/ethnic-motivated extremist channel encouraging users to engage in “continuous violence” as an alternative to “counter-protests” , by referring to past violent anti-abortion actors. According to the bulletin, the user wrote, “If you’re pro-life but unwilling to follow in their footsteps, you’re wasting your time.”

SCOTUS security increased as abortion debate escalates


The bulletin outlined signs and indicators of abortion-related violence, intended to help local law enforcement thwart future attacks. Examples include “making violent threats, encouraging others to commit violence, or doxing individuals to incite or facilitate violence against others for abortion-related motives”, as well as “pre-operational supervision, unusual or suspicious interest in a facility, or attempts to gain unauthorized access to government facilities, reproductive health care facilities, or personal residences of Supreme Court justices.”

The nationwide broadcast comes just weeks after state and local law enforcement agencies released intelligence and situational awareness reports warning of a “very sensitive and politically chargedthreat environment in the wake of the Supreme Court’s draft advisory leak.

Fusion Centers across the country, along with the FBI and DHS, launched a call to warn about the current threat environment.

“A lot of what we’ve seen are implied threats with no specific locations,” Mike Sena, president of the National Fusion Center Association, told CBS News.

“That makes it hard when you’re trying to figure out what crosses that line in online groups,” Sena said. “And people can have extreme ideologies, there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s the discussion of violence, death and destruction that we’re concerned about.”

In a statement to CBS News, a DHS spokesperson said the department is “committed to protecting American freedom of speech and other civil liberties, including the right to protest peacefully.” The department also pledged to share intelligence with other law enforcement agencies and “the private sector.”

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