The Department of Homeland Security is warning of possible foreign interference and “ideologically motivated violence” designed to upend the Georgia Senate runoff elections set to take place next week.
Yahoo News obtained a DHS memo sent just days before the Christmas holiday, outlining the agency’s concerns about security surrounding the Senate runoff elections, which will decide whether Republicans maintain a hold on the Senate or whether Democrats move into control of both houses of Congress.
“The Dec. 22 report, marked for official use only, says Georgia faces a ‘potentially heightened physical threat environment’ that could drive violence or threats of violence similar to those seen nationwide during the 2020 presidential and state election season,” the outlet reports. “Incidents of violence in or near the state capitol in Atlanta, courts and other ‘symbolic political institutions’ could also negatively affect elected officials or election workers in Georgia.”
“We further judge that violent extremists or other actors could quickly mobilize to violence or generate violent disruptions of otherwise lawful protests in response to a range of issues,” the report notes.
Yahoo adds that “the agency based its judgments on a review of national and local media coverage, relevant social media postings, state law enforcement officials detailing “ideologically motivated violence or threats of violence” and several other “election violence assessments” it “made over the past six months.”
Presumably, that includes the assessments released ahead of — and shortly after — the November elections. The DHS was clear that it anticipated foreign interference in the election from both Russia and China. Although, Bloomberg reports, the government’s security agencies have yet to issue a report on the matter, it seems the threats fizzled.
A similar thing happened in 2016; according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, although Russia made overtures to the Trump campaign and others seeking to interfere in that presidential election, he could find no evidence of any collaboration between Trump officials and Russian operatives.
It’s likely DHS is concerned with politically driven violence, and in an interview with Fox News, an RNC senior communications director suggested that DHS was worried about left-wing agitators. The report also cites “threats made this month against individuals involved in Georgia’s audit and subsequent recount of votes cast in the presidential election, per local and national media coverage and law enforcement,” per Yahoo.
But if DHS is worried about the possibility of violence, the report, at least, makes clear it believes Georgia officials are prepared to handle it.
The Georgia Senate runoff elections are just over a week away, and according to recent polling, both races are statistical dead heats, with both races polling within the margin of error. Democrat Raphael Warnock leads Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler and Republican incumbent David Perdue leads Democrat Jon Ossoff, both by less than three points.
Both parties are spending millions to come out ahead in Georgia. If Republicans maintain control of both seats, they retain their hold on the Senate, effectively ending Joe Biden’s agenda before he even takes office. If Democrats win both seats, they narrowly flip the Senate.
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