Posted on April 22, 2022

White Hate Groups Pose Highest Threat to NJ, Homeland Security Says

Nicole Rosenthal, Patch, April 20, 2022

White supremacists and homegrown extremists with ties to foreign organizations remain New Jersey’s top threat in 2022, according to an annual report released by NJ’s homeland security department.


In a detailed 2022 Terrorism Threat Assessment released earlier this month, the state homeland security department listed cybersecurity attacks such as ransomware, along with homegrown violent extremists and white racially motivated extremists, as New Jersey’s highest-level threats.

“Homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) remain a high threat to New Jersey in 2022, as they are driven to conduct attacks domestically, provide financial and messaging support, or attempt to travel overseas to fight on behalf of foreign terrorist organizations,” the report reads.


In 2021 alone, 10 HVEs were arrested, including a New York couple who attempted to board a Newark cargo ship to travel to Yemen with the prospects of joining ISIS, the assessment said. Authorities also arrested an active-duty soldier and a Tennessee-based leader of a pro-ISIS group after both allegedly provided material support to the extremist group.

But while homegrown violent extremist identification is down from last year, the rate of white racially motivated extremists (WRMEs) remains on the rise.

The demographic “will likely produce personal manifestos, collect extremist literature and stockpile weapons while aspiring to conduct lone offender attacks,” the state homeland security department said. In fact, a departmental review revealed that U.S.-based WRMEs conducted at least 28 attacks over the last five years, resulting in 52 deaths and 79 injuries.


In a breakdown of risk threats to state security, the state homeland security department classified anti-abortion extremists, anti-government extremists, anarchist extremists, Black racially motivated extremists, militia extremists and sovereign citizen extremists as “moderate” threats.


Domestic terrorists in the U.S. will likely continue to use encrypted messaging platforms and alternative social media applications such as Telegram, Parler and Gab “to amplify extremist rhetoric, communicate and coordinate among like-minded individuals, and maintain followers across platforms,” the report said.

Low-level threats in the 2022 assessment include al-Qaida, animal rights extremists and environmental extremists, as well as ISIS, Hamas and Hezbollah. The report added that foreign terrorist organizations are likely to encourage U.S. attacks via cybersecurity or intellectual property theft.