DHS Alert: Easing Coronavirus Restrictions Produces ‘Opportunities’ for ‘Violent Extremists’

A Palestinian protester hurls stones towards Israeli border police officers during clashes in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Saturday, March 31, 2018. Israel's chief military spokesman says if violence drags on along the Gaza border, Israel will expand its reaction to strike the militants behind it. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned Friday that “violent extremists may seek to exploit the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions.”

The department said in its newest National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin:

Violent extremists may seek to exploit the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions across the United States to conduct attacks against a broader range of targets after previous public capacity limits reduced opportunities for lethal attacks.

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. Many of these violent extremists are motivated and inspired by a mix of socio-political goals and personal grievances against their targets.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas remarked after releasing the new bulletin, “Today’s terrorism-related threat landscape is more complex, more dynamic, and more diversified than it was several years ago.”

“The warning was not just limited to COVID-19, as online discussions ‘have stated that civil disorder provides opportunities to engage in violence in furtherance of ideological objectives,’” the Hill reported.

ABC News reported the “DHS has also established a new domestic terrorism branch within its Office of Intelligence and Analysis and has directed state and local governments to use 7.5% of annual grant money issued by the agency to deal with the threat.”The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new mask guidelines Thursday in which “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities large or small without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky stated.“This is an exciting and powerful moment,” she added.


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