The Department of Homeland Security has poured more gas on the coronavirus fear-fire, sending out a memo to law enforcement nationwide that extremists could use the COVID-19 pandemic to carry out attacks against the U.S.
“Violent extremists probably are seeking to exploit public fears associated with the spread of COVID-19 to incite violence, intimidate targets and promote their ideologies, and we assess these efforts will intensify in the coming months,” the intelligence bulletin said, compiled by the agency’s Counterterrorism Mission Center and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office and reported by ABC News.
DHS said it has “no information indicating any active plotting is underway” at this time, but that it has observed extremists both foreign and domestic trying to spread misinformation about the outbreak.
The memo, which was released on March 23, comes after a video message from FBI Director Chris Wray saying agents would be even more vigilant in monitoring threats to the U.S. as the virus spreads.
Even more vigilant than what? Were they not at full vigilance already?
“With all the worry and uncertainty out there, we want the public to know that there are still things they can count on: We’re here, and we’re going to stay here, to protect them, no matter what,” Wray proclaimed. “Because our criminal and national security adversaries sure aren’t going to take a day off — whether that’s for the coronavirus or, for that matter, anything else.”
Among the activities by extremist organizations cited in the DHS bulletin is a message in a weekly ISIS newsletter calling for supporters to attack overburdened health care systems in Western countries.
ABC News also reported on Monday on an alert from the FBI’s New York field office that showed intelligence gathered on racist extremist groups, including neo-Nazis, that were encouraging followers who contract COVID-19 to spread the disease to Jewish people and police officers.