The Department of Homeland Security is warning employees to stay on alert after a senior official reportedly found a burned animal carcass at his Washington residence.
The acting deputy secretary of homeland security issued a memo Saturday warning staffers that “there may be a heightened threat” against them amid a national outcry over separated immigrant families at the border, CBS News reported.
“This assessment is based on specific and credible threats that have been levied against certain DHS employees and a sharp increase in the overall number of general threats against DHS employees — although the veracity of each threat varies,” Claire M. Grady said. “In addition, over the last few days, thousands of employees have had their personally identifiable information publically [sic] released on social media.”
The memo recommended that DHS employees “always keep doors and windows locked, “be aware of unexpected changes” at their homes and “utilize maximum security setting on social media platforms.”
“There are those who misconstrue your work in a negative way or seek to disrupt your work to advance outside agenda,” the memo stated. “Keep your heads held high and focused on the Department’s important missions. You are making a difference to secure our country. And in the meantime, let’s continue to be security-conscious and look out for each other.”
According to ABC News, about two dozen threat reports were issued at the DHS in the past few days. In one example, a senior DHS official living in the D.C. area reportedly found a burned and decapitated animal on his front porch.
The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting everyone who illegally crosses the southern border has resulted in around 2,300 children being separated from their families. Amid an international outcry, President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order saying he would keep families together during criminal proceedings, and the Department of Health and Human Services said more than 500 of the children had already been reunited with their families.
But the backlash against the Trump administration has shown no signs of slowing down. Protesters have accosted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in public and at her home, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was heckled outside a screening for the new Mister Rogers documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.”
“Occupy ICE” protests have emerged across the country and activists have taken to publishing personal identifying information of DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees online.