Anti-government “extremists” who oppose mask mandates and experimental COVID vaccines, as well as those who insist the was 2020 election was rigged, pose an imminent threat national security threat, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security issued an updated terrorism threat advisory ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, outlining the potential terrorism threats facing the United States.
The list includes anti-government rhetoric as well as “grievances over public health safety measures” related to COVID-19.
The bulletin read:
The Homeland continues to face a diverse and challenging threat environment leading up to and following the 20th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks as well religious holidays we assess could serve as a catalyst for acts of targeted violence. These threats include those posed by domestic terrorists, individuals and groups engaged in grievance-based violence, and those inspired or motivated by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences.
These actors are increasingly exploiting online forums to influence and spread violent extremist narratives and promote violent activity. Such threats are also exacerbated by impacts of the ongoing global pandemic, including grievances over public health safety measures and perceived government restrictions.
There are also continued, non-specific calls for violence on multiple online platforms associated with DVE ideologies or conspiracy theories on perceived election fraud and alleged reinstatement, and responses to anticipated restrictions relating to the increasing COVID cases.
The advisory continues to state that “anti-government/anti-authority violent extremists … may seek to exploit the emergence of COVID-19 variants by viewing the potential re-establishment of public health restrictions across the United States as a rationale to conduct attacks. Pandemic-related stressors have contributed to increased societal strains and tensions, driving several plots by domestic violent extremists, and they may contribute to more violence this year.”
“Nation-state adversaries have increased efforts to sow discord. For example, Russian, Chinese and Iranian government-linked media outlets have repeatedly amplified conspiracy theories concerning the origins of COVID-19 and effectiveness of vaccines; in some cases, amplifying calls for violence targeting persons of Asian descent.”
The Homeland Security bulletin also warns of “non-specific calls for violence on multiple online platforms” related to “conspiracy theories on perceived election fraud and alleged reinstatement,” a reference to claims that former President Donald Trump will be reinstated as president.
The terrorism threat advisory expires on Nov. 11.