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Protesters carry rifles near the steps of the Michigan State Capitol building in Lansing, Mich., Wednesday, April 15. Flag-waving, honking protesters drove past the Michigan Capitol to show their displeasure with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's orders to keep people at home and businesses locked during the new coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The rising threat of extremism on U.S. soil

It's been a year of disinformation, political bombast, and pandemic-induced stressors. That's created a tinderbox of potential violence, one expert says.

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By Carmen Gentile


In Season 3, Episode 1 of the Postindustrial Podcast, author and expert Seth G. Jones says that the U.S. faces an escalating threat of violence in the next year — from within.

Extremist groups fueled by the disinformation, political rhetoric, and a populace suffering added stresses of surging unemployment and the pandemic only adds to the growing threat.

“We now have people in the streets in the same area that are armed….And this is what makes some urban areas actually quite dangerous,” Jones said. “It’s like, all the conditions for an explosion. You just need a match. I think that’s the challenge we face in some urban areas.”

Jones is a senior adviser to the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He specializes in counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, unconventional warfare, and covert action.

Jones specializes in counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, unconventional warfare, and covert action. He is the author of “Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of al Qaida after 9/11,” and “In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan,” among others.

Postindustrial founder Carmen Gentile has worked for some of the world’s leading publications and news outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, CBS News and others. His book, “Blindsided by the Taliban,” documents his life as a war reporter and the aftermath of his brush with death after being shot with a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan. Reach him at carmen@postindustrial.com.

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