The Department of Homeland Security released an updated summary of the terrorism threat to the U.S. homeland ahead of the anniversary of Sept. 11.
One paragraph in the “additional details” section stood out:
“Foreign and domestic threat actors, to include foreign intelligence services, international terrorist groups and domestic violent extremists, continue to introduce, amplify, and disseminate narratives online that promote violence, and have called for violence against elected officials, political representatives, government facilities, law enforcement, religious communities or commercial facilities, and perceived ideologically-opposed individuals. There are also continued, non-specific calls for violence on multiple online platforms associated with DVE ideologies or conspiracy theories on perceived election fraud and alleged reinstatement, and responses to anticipated restrictions relating to the increasing COVID cases.”
And then, a few bullet points later, it reads:
“Nation-state adversaries have increased efforts to sow discord. For example, 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.”
The Department of Homeland Security vows to continue identifying and evaluating calls for violence — which includes online activity associated with spreading disinformation, conspiracy theories and false narratives.