WASHINGTON — A former United States security official warned of the threat of additional domestic terrorist attacks weeks after the siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and nearly two months before Friday’s car-ramming of two U.S. Capitol Police Officers at a U.S. Capitol security checkpoint.
The Trump administration’s assistant secretary of homeland security for counterterrorism, Elizabeth Neumann, made her prediction on Feb. 3, 2021, during testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee’s first hearing in its investigation into the riot.
On Friday, hours after a man ran over two US Capitol Police Officers, one of whom later died, Neumann spoke with WUSA9 about the increased threat of violent attacks, particularly at “soft targets.”
WUSA9: Do you fear attacks like this will continue to happen? And will lone rogue actors be an increasing threat?
Elizabeth Neumann, Former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Counterterrorism: Sadly, I do think we're in for more attacks. April in particular has this historic. It is a historic month of attacks in our country. And you see a lot of violent extremist’s plan attacks to copy famous past terrorist attacks. Famous past terrorist attacks - you had WACO and Ruby Ridge and Oklahoma City all occur in the month of April. The Columbine shooting in 1999, was also an April, the Virginia Tech shooting, there was a Poway California, synagogue shooting in 2019. So we just there's this sad pattern of both terrorist attacks and shootings occurring and in the month of April. So you add to it, the pandemic effects, you add to it this very intense experience that we're all having within the country and debates over politics. It just leads one to conclude we're likely to see more of this.
WUSA9: It almost seems as though whether or not this was somehow connected with the philosophy behind the January 6 riots is almost irrelevant to the fact that these attacks are becoming more frequent.
Neumann: That's right, I don't know, and it's certainly too early to understand the motive. And there definitely is a threat from what happened on January 6. But the idea that we just have a problem with violence in this country, regardless of the ideology...and in fact, a lot of extremist experts are increasingly getting to the belief that a lot of times it's not about the ideology, it's a desire for violence, and the ideology almost just acts as a reason for why you're allowed to go and be violent.
Neumann said Homeland Security has been working on a program to increase prevention through a non-law enforcement approach to get people to help before they mobilize to violence.