Heightened terrorism advisory over 'misleading' COVID, election narratives issued by DHS

The agency warned that COVID mandates are used to justify violence, and terror acts may occur leading up to the 2022 midterms.

Updated: February 7, 2022 - 4:18pm

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The Department of Homeland Security said the United States is facing a "heightened threat environment" due to "false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories" online.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas explained Monday in an email obtained by Just the News that the department is renewing its National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin primarily due to an increase in false information.

"The United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information (MDM) introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors," Mayorkas wrote, adding that the actors seek to "sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions to encourage unrest."

Examples of misinformation, according to the Biden administration, include narratives about election fraud and COVID-19.   

White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently called out online platforms for not doing more to fight "mis- and dis- information" on COVID after podcaster Joe Rogan's comments on the pandemic came to light.

As COVID restrictions are rolled back, DHS states that more opportunities for acts of violence could occur.

"Meanwhile, 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," the agency wrote.

The department also warned that violence may occur in the months leading up to the 2022 midterm elections due to "false or misleading narratives about unsubstantiated election fraud."

The resettlement of Afghan refugees following Biden's withdrawal may also "exacerbate long-standing grievances and justify attacks against immigrants," according to DHS.

Mayorkas gave two concrete examples of recent terror events: the Colleyville, Texas, synagogue hostage situation and bomb threats against Historical Black Colleges and Universities.

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