Illinois governor redeploys National Guard to protect Washington DC while violence in Chicago absolutely skyrockets


CHICAGO, IL – Illinois will send 500 National Guard members to Washington D.C. to assist with security threats after the Director of Homeland Security issued a terrorism alert on Wednesday. Meanwhile, homicides and shootings surge in Chicago.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) authorized the deployment at the request of the Pentagon:

“The U.S. Department of Defense has asked Illinois to assist federal and local agencies in this continued effort, and Major General Neely and I are ready to ensure that the state of Illinois continues its proud legacy of protecting our democracy.”

The threat alert lists a “range of issues” for the threat alert, including anger over pandemic restrictions, the 2020 election results, and immigration. However, Gov. Pritzker claimed that racism caused the need for deployment:

“Ultimately, we must root out the dark forces of racism, white supremacy, and disinformation that have created this moment, but until we do that, our extraordinary troops will deploy with honor.”

Director of Homeland Security David Pekoske issued a National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin on January 27, stating:

 “(There is a) heightened threat environment across the United States, which DHS believes will persist in the weeks following the successful Presidential Inauguration.

“Some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition … could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence.”

Gov. Pritzker is sending National Guard Members and a small group of airmen to D.C. just weeks after 300 National Guard members were deployed there for President Biden’s inauguration following the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol.

The 300 members returned to Illinois on January 26, and approximately 50 of those have volunteered to return with the new group. The re-deployment is expected to arrive in D.C. next week to join approximately 7,000 guard members from across the nation.

Gen. Rich Neely, commander of the Illinois National Guard, issued a statement regarding the deployment:

“We are deploying these forces in support of civilian law enforcement based on threat-levels against the U.S. Capitol. We have asked a lot of them in the last year and each time these men and women have answered the call and upheld their oath to defend and support the U.S. Constitution.”

About 325 National Guard members have also been called out to assist with COVID-19 vaccination delivery in Illinois, according to officials. The same officials said the deployment to D.C. will not impact the pandemic-fighting distribution efforts.

Suggestions about the use of the Illinois National Guard to quell violence in Chicago placed Gov. Pritzker in the spotlight early last summer when he engaged in a public spat with then-President Donald Trump.

Following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, and the ensuing demonstrations and violence across the country, President Trump called on governors to call out their National Guard units to suppress the violence. President Trump threatened to send federal troops to “quickly” end the violence if the states refused to act.

On June 1, President Trump spoke from the Rose Garden at the White House:

“Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled. If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

Pritzker told NPR News during an interview on June 2 that the President’s threat was out of line:

“You can hear in his rhetoric that he is simply trying to make himself sound like a strong man, almost like a dictator, as if he’s going to be responsible for bringing order. Well, the way you bring order is to bring down the temperature, and that’s not what he’s doing. And to address the issues — the legitimate issues — of the protesters who are out there peacefully demonstrating.”

Illinois did eventually deploy up to 626 National Guard members to nine counties in the state to assist law enforcement during violent Black Lives Matter protests and riots. Guard members were restricted to a supporting role of blocking streets and crowd control.

Chicago saw homicides and shootings spike in 2020. The year ended with 769 homicides and 4,033 shootings. Those numbers are up from 2019 when there were 274 fewer homicides and 1,435 fewer shootings. 

The violence is not subsiding, as there were 50 homicides in December alone in the city.

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National terrorism alert issued by DHS warning of ‘potential attacks’ by ‘ideologically-motivated violent extremists’

January 27, 2021


 WASHINGTON, DC – The Acting Secretary of Homeland Security has issued a national terrorism alert due to a heightened threat environment across the United States from ideologically-motivated violent extremists. The alert cited the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol as a motivating event for domestic terrorists.

The alert did not mention specific threats but believes the potential for violence will continue for weeks. The alert narrative suggests officials see a link between violence last year motivated by various causes, including pandemic restrictions, racial tensions, election results, and police use of force issues.

The alert bulletin issued Wednesday reads:

“DHS does not have any information to indicate a specific, credible plot. However, violent riots have continued in recent days and we remain concerned that individuals frustrated with the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition… could continue to mobilize a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors to incite or commit violence.”

According to the bulletin, the alert lists several factors that have led to concern that violent extremists, labeled domestic violent extremists (DVEs) by the Biden administration, may be planning attacks against elected officials and government facilities.

Factors named in the alert include DVEs targeting individuals with opposing views engaging in “First Amendment-protected, non-violent protest activity” throughout 2020.  The report also indicates that DVEs have previously carried out attacks against government facilities over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and police use of force. The alert said:

“Threats of violence against critical infrastructure, including the electric, telecommunications and healthcare sectors, increased in 2020 with violent extremists citing misinformation and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 for their actions.”

Officials are concerned that the attack on the U.S. Capitol may breed further violence:

“DHS (Department of Homeland Security) is concerned these same drivers of violence will remain through early 2021 and some DVEs may be emboldened by the January 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. to target elected officials and government facilities.”

More than 150 people, some later identified as members of far-right, armed extremist groups, swarmed the U.S. Capitol targeting lawmakers and Vice President Pence while they were voting to certify the 2020 election results. Five people were killed in the incident, which has been labeled an insurrection.

Former President Donald Trump was impeached for a record second time over his speech to the pro-Trump crowd shortly before the attack. The Articles of Impeachment accuse him of “incitement of insurrection.”

The terror alert adds that DHS remains concerned about homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) inspired by foreign terror groups, who have committed three attacks targeting government officials in 2020. The alert did not go into further detail about those attacks.



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