The Department of Homeland Security released an updated terrorism threat advisory on Friday ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that outlined the potential terrorism threats facing the U.S.
Included on the list is anti-government rhetoric and “grievances over public health safety measures” related to COVID-19.
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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.
The advisory goes on 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.”
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 some claims that former President Donald Trump will be reinstated as president.
However, according to NBC News correspondent Pete Williams, the advisory “is not based on any actual threats or plots.”
The terrorism threat advisory expires on Nov. 11.
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