DHS: Potential for domestic terrorism around Diamond Pipeline

DHS: Potential for domestic terrorism around Diamond Pipeline

Homeland Security is warning local police departments of ‘Potential Domestic Terrorist Threats.’

The threats specifically deal with construction of the Diamond Pipeline. The 11-page report was released in early April.

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) admits the Diamond Pipeline protests have been peaceful.

There have been escalated incidents at other pipelines across the country.

Domestic terrorism though? Local protesters say it’s a tactic, not the truth.

Construction of the 440 mile Diamond Pipeline has not been entirely smooth.

In Forrest City, Arkansas two people were arrested after they locked themselves to construction equipment.

Weeks later in Memphis, more than a dozen people were arrested for blocking the entrance to the Valero Refinery.

Now, the Department of Homeland Security is warning local law enforcement of ‘Potential Domestic Terrorism.’

“It’s often just a fear mongering tactic,” said Scott Prather, a local environmental activist.

Prather believes the new report is more about spin than safety.

"I think it is a common tactic that the state uses to try and label certain kinds of environmental actions and other public protests as possible terrorist action," said Prather.

“I’m laughing about that [phrasing]…because these kids they are locking themselves down to equipment,” said activist Scott Banbury, who works for the West Tennessee Sierra Club.

In the report the DHS says the most likely threat is Environmental Rights Extremists, followed by Militia Extremists.

Local police are told to be aware of tampering with pipeline valves, potential arson attacks, and even improvised explosive devices.

The group also admits there is “no information indicating environmental rights extremists are planning to attack or violently disrupt the Diamond Pipeline.”

The report also states that “attacks tend to be designed to inflict economic damage – rather than physical casualties…”

“99.9% of the time these people that the state are calling terrorists, [they] are not actually doing any harm to any human beings,” said Prather.

“It sends a bad message because it makes people frightened that something is going to be happening in their home community,” said Banbury.

The report mentions extremists from other states potentially joining the resistance. It references the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests that attracted national attention.

For now though, it is all speculation.

“We are just standing up for our rights and we are going to keep doing that by any means necessary,” said Prather.

The Memphis Police Department sent this statement to FOX13 in response to the report.

"We are aware. So far there have been no threats but we do brace for the potential acts of violence. The Memphis Police Department is in constant communication with our local, state and federal partners in addition to the proactive measures that have been taken to ensure the safety of our citizens.
For security reasons, we will not disclose our methods."

A spokesperson for the Diamond Pipeline LLC also responded to FOX13’s request for comment.

“Diamond Pipeline, LLC is committed to designing, constructing, operating and maintaining the Diamond Pipeline in a safe, reliable, and responsible manner.”