When former special agent Tom O'Connor held a training session for new recruits this month at the FBI’s Virginia headquarters, he turned to a key example to underscore the threat of domestic extremist attacks: the October 2018 mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The shooting, which killed 11 worshippers making it the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history, came a little more than a week before congressional elections.

The fact that the alleged gunman was not known to police serves as a stark reminder of the difficulties facing U.S. law enforcement agencies around next Tuesday’s general election, when Republican President Donald Trump will seek to fend off Democratic challenger Joe Biden, former law enforcement officials said.