The Department of Homeland Security’s latest terrorism threat bulletin includes a warning against “the proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions.”
The bulletin, issued Monday and in effect until at least June 7, blamed an “online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis-, dis- and mal-information introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors.
“These threat actors seek to exacerbate societal friction to sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions to encourage unrest, which could potentially inspire acts of violence,” DHS went on. “Mass casualty attacks and other acts of targeted violence conducted by lone offenders and small groups acting in furtherance of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances pose an ongoing threat to the nation.”
Further along in the bulletin, DHS topped its list of “[k]ey factors contributing to the current heightened threat environment” with the message: “[T]here is widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19. Grievances associated with these themes inspired violent extremist attacks during 2021.”
The bulletin did not give specific examples of such attacks.
“The months preceding the upcoming 2022 midterm elections could provide additional opportunities for these extremists and other individuals to call for violence directed at democratic institutions, political candidates, party offices, election events, and election workers,” DHS added.
The document also warned that “COVID-19 mitigation measures — particularly COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates — have been used by domestic violent extremists to justify violence since 2020 and could continue to inspire these extremists to target government, healthcare, and academic institutions that they associate with those measures.”
Again, it did not give specific examples.
Conservative podcast host Liz Wheeler responded to the new bulletin Tuesday by accusing the White House of “weaponizing DHS.”
“DHS declares heightened alert … despite the threat environment not being different than a year ago,” she tweeted. “So why now? Well, the easiest person to deplatform is a terrorist … So DHS labels those questioning the left’s covid narrative as terrorists.”
“Welcome to your communist future,” she added. “You may not criticize the govt or you will be imprisoned. That is the logical conclusion of this hideous document.”