DailySA: Death threats for Congressional members spike – Forward Observer

DailySA: Death threats for Congressional members spike

Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Tuesday, 25 January 2022. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa

TODAY’S BRIEFING:

  • Death threats for Congressional members spike 
  • U.S. prepares to send additional troops to Europe
  • Congress pushes stock trading reform
  • Law enforcement agencies face staffing shortages
  • DHS warns of possible cyber attacks
  • Hazards Warning

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SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

SPIKE IN DEATH THREATS FOR CONGRESS: Members of Congress were surveyed regarding death threats they received in 2021. Seventy-five percent of respondents answered “yes” with similar numbers among both parties. Capitol Police estimates reflect almost a 250% increase in direct threats against members from 2017. Concern for this trend is growing on Capitol Hill, with Capitol Police reporting critical staffing shortages and federal agencies tracking an uptick in extremist activity. (Analyst Comment: Indications of political division and extremist activity have federal agencies concerned about future domestic instability. With polling data showing more Americans are willing to commit violence against the government, departments are standing up units specifically focused on domestic terror and extremism threats. The outlook for government response will be more prosecutions for those considered engaging in extremist activity. – D.F.)

PREPARE TO DEPLOY ORDERS ISSUED: Soldiers from various U.S. military bases were placed on high alert yesterday. The U.S. will likely send up to 8,500 troops to support NATO security missions in Eastern Europe. If NATO requests the rapid response forces, the troops will occupy existing training and staging areas in Poland and the Baltics. Units are most likely from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, 82nd Airborne Division, and 101st Airborne Division. The addition of supplemental logistics and transportation units would indicate the units are prepared to push East from their NATO host country. (AC: The Russians are likely to view this as an escalation, finally validating their fears about a NATO buildup near Russia. These troops are going forward to reassure U.S. allies, not to assist Ukraine in kinetic operations, but this helps Putin make his case at home for a “defensive” first strike. – D.M.)

BIPARTISAN GROUP PUSHES TRADING REFORM: A group of 27 House members sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader McCarthy (R-CA) proposing elected officials no longer be allowed to participate in the stock market. The letter is a clear indictment of high-profile politicians like Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Crenshaw (R-TX) who reportedly made millions from “nonpublic information” in trading and are not signatories to the effort. (AC: A key election issue for both parties is likely to be rooting out corruption with class-focused campaigning. While this trading ban effort is unlikely to succeed, it is likely to further divide public sentiment on who exactly represents the citizenry in Washington. A growing number of Congressional campaigns are publicly rejecting large donations or corporate sponsorship to connect with younger, more progressive voters. – D.M.)

LAW ENFORCEMENT STAFFING DECLINE: Congressional concern regarding law enforcement shortages in State and Local agencies is driving leaders to look for solutions. The Census Bureau’s statistics for 2021’s law enforcement numbers are expected to show significant declines, with survey data conducted throughout 2021 showing issues with retention. Surveys highlight that responding agencies reported a 5% decrease in the overall hiring rate, an 18% increase in the resignation rate, and a 45% increase in the retirement rate. (AC: Current numbers aren’t updated to reflect manning gaps due to vaccine mandate policies. Defunding movements and lack of community support are compounding in the downward trend that hinders law enforcement recruitment and retention. With the potential for more “summers of riots” ahead of elections, domestic unrest is more likely. – D.F.)

DHS WARNS OF POSSIBLE CYBER ATTACKS: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quietly issued a security bulletin to critical infrastructure organizations warning of potential cyberattacks from Russia. The memo said, “Russia maintains a range of offensive cyber tools that it could employ against US networks—from low-level denials-of-service to destructive attacks targeting critical infrastructure.” While Moscow’s threshold for conducting an attack “probably remains very high” (AC: Russia already demonstrated its ability to selectively target critical industries and infrastructure inside the U.S. homeland. As tensions escalate in Europe, the U.S. becomes a likely target for cyber disruptions due to its support for NATO and Ukraine. Should an attack occur, expect limited to persistent disruptions to payment systems, utilities, cellular communications networks, the internet, GPS-integrated systems. Panic buying will likely induce localized and regional shortages for consumer goods and fuel. – D.M.)

HAZARDS/WX

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