Government report warns of potential violence and foreign interference during Georgia Senate runoffs
With the Georgia Senate runoff races only two weeks away, the Department of Homeland Security warns of the possibility of "ideologically motivated violence" and even campaigning with foreign influence as voters prepare for the election, according to a new internal Report from Yahoo News.
The December 22nd report, for official use only, said Georgia is exposed to a "potentially heightened physical threat environment" that may lead to violence or threats of violence similar to those seen during the 2020 presidential and state election seasons can be seen across the country. Cases of violence in or near the Atlanta state capital, courts, and other "symbolic political institutions" could also negatively affect elected officials or poll workers in Georgia, the report said.
"We also believe that violent extremists or other actors could quickly mobilize violence or provoke violent interruptions to otherwise lawful protests in response to a range of issues," the report said, including possible disputes over the results of the presidential election on Jan. November.
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DHS Georgia warning from Yahoo News
The agency based its judgments on a review of national and local media coverage, relevant social media posts, state law enforcement officers listing "ideologically motivated violence or threats of violence" and their other ratings of electoral violence made over the past six months.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Almost 2 million Georgians voted ahead of the eagerly anticipated runoff elections on January 5th, state election data show. The election will determine whether Republicans Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler keep their seats or lose them to Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock. If either Ossoff or Warnock lose, the GOP retains its Senate majority and its ability to block President-elect Joe Biden's agenda.
Georgia is one of several battlefield nations plagued by unfounded allegations of widespread systemic electoral fraud during and after the presidential election of the Trump campaign and its allies. Several unsuccessful lawsuits have alleged massive fraud with no evidence, including ballot papers and a Venezuela-related voting machine conspiracy.
Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris is fighting for the Democratic Senate challengers, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, in Columbus, Georgia (Ben Gray / AP).
Some high-profile Trump supporters, like Georgia-based attorney Lin Wood, have questioned whether Conservatives should vote in the runoff elections because of largely unfounded concerns about election security. Other prominent Republicans, including President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, have urged their supporters to return to the elections to assure them that the January 5 election will be closely monitored.
Georgians were deeply divided by the idea that the presidential elections were inadmissible. Allegations of electoral fraud have resulted in threats against election officials, as well as Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans and Trump supporters, who dismissed the fraud claims and followed normal election procedures in confirming the Georgian results that Biden handed over Electoral votes of the state. Trump has not yet conceded the election and is still falsely claiming that it was stolen from him.
The Homeland Security report cites threats against those involved in the examination of Georgia and the subsequent recount of votes cast in the presidential election, as reported by local and national media and law enforcement agencies.
Ivanka Trump, right, fights with Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in Milton, Georgia (John Bazemore / AP)
On November 21, the report said, groups with conflicting ideological views held physical clashes outside the state capital during otherwise peaceful demonstrations over the results of the presidential elections.
Regarding internet-related threats, the DHS report states that the department has no evidence that hackers targeted or attempted to target the Georgia electoral networks during the Nov. January to disturb. It is noted, however, that “foreign threat actors” recognize the national importance of the drains and view them as an opportunity to use “social media and other governmental influence strategies”.
According to the report, Georgia's federal, state and local authorities are “well positioned to monitor, report and mitigate potential threats to the elections”.
Jana Winter contributed to this story.
Thumbnail: Rich von Biberstein / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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