Homeland Security warns terrorists might try to target the US by exploiting ongoing fears surrounding coronavirus pandemic
- In a memo to law enforcement on Monday, Homeland Security’s counter-terrorism unit warned terrorists might try to target the US
- Agency said it had observed violent extremist groups trying to spread misinformation about the coronavirus
- They predicted that the efforts would intensify in the coming months
- Homeland Security said it had no information on active plots
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Homeland Security has warned that terrorists might try to target the US by exploiting the ongoing fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
In a memo to law enforcement on Monday, Homeland Security’s counter-terrorism unit said it had observed some violent extremist groups trying to spread misinformation about the coronavirus.
The agency predicted that the efforts would intensify in the coming months.
‘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,’ the memo, obtained by ABC News, said.
Homeland Security warned in a memo to law enforcement on Monday that terrorists might try to target the US by exploiting the ongoing fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic
Homeland Security said it had no information on active plots but had noted the both foreign and domestic groups had been trying to spread misinformation about the global pandemic.
The agency did cite a weekly ISIS newsletter that called for followers to plan attacks against Western healthcare systems that are currently struggling amid the spread of coronavirus.
White supremacists have also been caught urging violence against minorities, including Asian-Americans in response to the outbreak.
Meanwhile, federal investigators had earlier revealed they have monitoring neo-Nazis after it emerged they had been discussing plans to weaponize coronavirus by infecting law enforcement and non-whites.
Investigators have been monitoring communications among white supremacist organizations through Telegram, an encrypted messaging app that has become popular among underground extremist movements.
The white supremacist groups had allegedly suggested spreading coronavirus by leaving ‘saliva on door handles’ at local FBI offices, spitting on elevator buttons and spreading germs in ‘nonwhite neighborhoods’.
Experts who have been tracking neo-Nazi movements say there is a danger that they could try to exploit the current coronavirus crisis by conducting attacks against minorities and law enforcement.
In recent months, the federal government has been urged to conduct more aggressive surveillance of far-right movements in the wake of several mass shootings by gunmen said to have been radicalized online.