Feds issue alert about safety threats for summer, 2024 Chicago Democratic National Convention

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff and Christine Tressel WLS logo
Friday, May 26, 2023
Feds issue alert for array of summertime threats
There are the conventional and continuing foreign terror concerns; but federal law enforcement is also worried about politically driven extremists as the 2024 election cycle is on

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As the city outlines plans for weekend safety, there is a jarring alert from federal law enforcement about a wide array of summertime security threats.

There are the conventional and continuing foreign terror concerns, but federal law enforcement is also worried about politically driven extremists as the 2024 election cycle is on the horizon.

The looming threat, according to a new Department of Homeland Security alert, is broader and deeper.

That strong potential for violence by political extremists or attackers, according to the feds, can be motivated by racial or gender hatred.

Federal investigations and training in recent months has been stepped up as authorities try to get ahead of next year's election cycle, with one focus: the Democratic National Convention in Chicago next summer.

Expect a convergence of specialty units; the nation's counterterror hardware and personnel attempting to choke off throngs of violent domestic terror groups that experts say will see Chicago as a target.

Government buildings, utilities, faith-based institutions, and all minority communities are considered major targets.

"They outline six incidents within the last six months, ranging from the Allen Texas shooter to Nashville to the Maryland plot attack on newsy, with police officers, based on their pattern, I think they're pointing out that we're seeing a rise on these racially and ethnically motivated, violent extremist and that's why they want to bring it to the public attention so they can prepare," said ABC7 law enforcement expert Ed Farrell.

The former deputy US Marshal in Chicago also told the I-Team the time is here for shorthanded city police officials to draw on federal law enforcement agencies for staffing help against what could be a gathering storm of violence.

"They just don't have the resources to deal with the increase in crime and the complexity of crime they're starting to see across the city. I would encourage them to reach out to their federal, local and state partners, garner resources and deal with the event much more effectively," said Farrell.

He suspects territorial disputes may explain why multiple Chicago mayoral administrations have been averse to asking for help.

"I think it's territorial disputes. You know, obviously there's a sense of pride that hey, we can handle our problem. It's the people up the chain that need to get over their egos and engage and make sure we share resources," he said.

The new federal alert doesn't just zero in on domestic threats. U.S. authorities said they can't lose sight of foreign terrorist organizations that also continue to recruit and radicalize sympathizers in the US.