WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security released a new National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin on Friday, extending the warning it issued at the start of the Biden administration following the Jan.6 attacks on the Capitol and warning that extremists could take advantage of. the easing of restrictions on Covid-19.
“Violent extremists may seek to exploit the easing of COVID-19 restrictions across the United States to carry out attacks against a wider range of targets after previous public capacities have limited the possibilities of lethal attacks.” , indicates the bulletin.
A senior DHS official said the bulletin was “not tied to a specific credible threat” but was shared to educate the public about threats and ways to report suspicious activity.
The bulletin also warned that adversaries of nation states like Russia, China and Iran have “repeatedly amplified conspiracy theories regarding the origins of Covid-19 and the effectiveness of vaccines, amplifying in some cases calls for violence against people of Asian descent.
“When there are divisive events or divisive issues here in this country, we have seen threat actors like Russia manipulate that. And we have continued to see this happen with – and not surprisingly – the vaccine debate because it has been a divisive issue in this country, ”the official said.
Other threats cited included the targeting of government buildings, places of worship and commercial facilities by violent extremists in the country.
“With today’s publication of the NTAS Bulletin, we advise the public to be vigilant in the face of current threats to the United States, including those posed by internal terrorism, grievance-based violence, and those inspired or influenced by foreign terrorists and other malicious foreign influences. Said DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
The bulletin warned against ideologically motivated violent extremists who are “fueled by perceived grievances, false narratives and conspiracy theories” and disseminate false information online to incite violence.
“Online stories from sites known to be frequented by people with violent extremist ideologies have called for violence against elected officials, political representatives, government facilities, law enforcement, religious or commercial facilities. and individuals perceived as ideologically opposed, ”the bulletin said.
He also warned of foreign terrorist organizations that might seek to recruit Americans for their causes.