Any proliferating “narratives” the Biden administration deems “false or misleading” qualifies as a “terrorism threat” according to a recent National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin released by the Biden administration’s DHS, and has received sharp backlash online after warning that Americans are expressing unwelcome beliefs on issues such as the Chinese coronavirus and election fraud pose “an ongoing threat to the nation.”
The bulletin, issued on Monday by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), addressed the “Terrorism Threat to the U.S. Homeland.”
In it, the country is described as being in a “heightened threat environment” due to factors such as online content featuring “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.”
.@SecMayorkas issued a National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin today regarding the heightened threat environment across the United States. Read the full #NTAS Bulletin here: https://t.co/jNJR39fRBg pic.twitter.com/W2gUvHWyIB
— Homeland Security (@DHSgov) February 7, 2022
The “threat actors” are accused of seeking to “exacerbate societal friction to sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions to encourage unrest,” which could potentially lead to acts of violence.
Citizens are also warned of “[m]ass casualty attacks and other acts of targeted violence” by those “acting in furtherance of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances.”
The bulletin also designates individuals and small cells “motivated by a range of foreign and/or domestic grievances often cultivated through the consumption of certain online content” as the “primary terrorism-related threat” to the country.
“The convergence of violent extremist ideologies, false or misleading narratives, and conspiracy theories have and will continue to contribute to a heightened threat of violence in the United States,” it states.
Both “unsubstantiated widespread election fraud” and the coronavirus are listed as examples of subjects in which “false or misleading narratives” are being proliferated online.
“Grievances associated with these themes inspired violent extremist attacks during 2021,” it claims.
COVID measures such as vaccine and mask mandates are stated to “have been used by domestic violent extremists to justify violence since 2020” and can potentially continue to inspire them “to target government, healthcare, and academic institutions that they associate with those measures.”
The introduction of 5G cellular technology, too, has been subject to “false or misleading narratives,” according to the bulletin.
In addition, it claims the recent resettlement of tens of thousands of Afghan refugees following the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August may be used to “exacerbate long-standing grievances and justify attacks against immigrants.”
As a result, DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are “sharing information and intelligence with our partners across every level of government and in the private sector” to combat the aforementioned threats.
The bulletin recommends that citizens report any “potential threats” and keep safe online by maintaining the “digital and media literacy” needed to “recognize and build resilience to false or misleading narratives.”
In response, the DHS publication drew sharp backlash online.
“The sociopaths who run our government have decided free speech = terrorism,” wrote Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center.
The sociopaths who run our government have decided free speech = terrorism. https://t.co/mNZBmL7WiN
— Dan Gainor (@dangainor) February 8, 2022
“So, a few of us are wondering, @DHSgov … ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MINDS?” wrote First Amendment lawyer Ron Coleman.
Calling it “the most shocking thing I’ve read in a while,” conservative pundit Liz Wheeler warned that “Biden is weaponizing DHS to label… well, you… as a terrorist.”
THREAD: This is the most shocking thing I’ve read in a while. This document was published by DHS. Biden is weaponizing DHS to label… well, you… as a terrorist. 1/ https://t.co/Db46C752LB
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) February 9, 2022
“Welcome to your communist future,” she wrote in another tweet. “You may not criticize the govt or you will be imprisoned.”
“That is the logical conclusion of this hideous document,” she added.
Welcome to your communist future. You may not criticize the govt or you will be imprisoned. That is the logical conclusion of this hideous document. 12/
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) February 9, 2022
“This is alarming,” wrote former Evergreen Professor Bret Weinstein.
“It tells us exactly where we are in history,” he added.
This is alarming. Follow this thread and extrapolate. It tells us exactly where we are in history. https://t.co/cjTFjmnRVu
— Bret Weinstein ???? (@BretWeinstein) February 8, 2022
“Freedom of speech that undermines trust in the government is terrorism in Biden’s America,” warned immigration lawyer Matthew Kolken.
Freedom of speech that undermines trust in the government is terrorism in Biden’s America. pic.twitter.com/Xf1i4MgT9r
— Matthew Kolken (@mkolken) February 8, 2022
“By the Feds logic here the CDC and Dr Fauci are terrorist threats. (They’re not),” wrote libertarian-conservative journalist Brad Polumbo.
“But if spreading false info on COVID or undermining the government credibility is what qualifies you as a terror threat to DHS… I have some bad news,” he added.
By the Feds logic here the CDC and Dr Fauci are terrorist threats. (They’re not).
But if spreading false info on COVID or undermining the government credibility is what qualifies you as a terror threat to DHS… I have some bad news. https://t.co/tEd5htaBtV
— Brad Polumbo ??⚽️ ?️? (@brad_polumbo) February 9, 2022
“A Biden DHS terror bulletin highlights Americans who oppose mask & vaccine mandates, question elections, or show concern about Afghan refugees,” wrote GOP strategist Tim Murtaugh.
“These Americans are labeled potential ‘violent extremists,’” he added. “Just like parents at school board meetings.”
A Biden DHS terror bulletin highlights Americans who oppose mask & vaccine mandates, question elections, or show concern about Afghan refugees.
These Americans are labeled potential “violent extremists.”
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) February 8, 2022
“Is @SecMayorkas the Minister of Truth now?” wrote Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC).
Biden’s DHS declares that ‘misinformation’ that undermines public trust in government is now a terrorism threat.
— Rep. Dan Bishop (@RepDanBishop) February 9, 2022
“@JoeBiden’s DHS may consider you a ‘threat actor’ & nat’l security risk if you publicly question their Covid-19 narrative!” wrote former Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.
“They’re weaponizing @DHS against the very American people it exists to protect,” he added. “This is unconscionable & dangerous.”
@JoeBiden‘s DHS may consider you a “threat actor” & nat’l security risk if you publicly question their Covid-19 narrative! They’re weaponizing @DHS against the very American people it exists to protect. This is unconscionable & dangerous.https://t.co/y5CSrmYmCJ
— Ken Cuccinelli (@KenCuccinelli) February 8, 2022
“According to the Biden gang, distrust of the Biden gang makes you a terror threat. @DHSgov is out of control…,” wrote Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) February 9, 2022
“Another Biden agency proves itself a civil liberties menace,” he added in another tweet..
“New DHS bulletin says those opposed to COVID Mania are terrorists,” wrote investigative journalist Jordan Schachtel.
New DHS bulletin says those opposed to COVID Mania are terrorists:
“COVID-19 mitigation measures—particularly vaccine & mask mandates—have been used by domestic violent extremists to justify violence … & could continue to inspire these extremists.”https://t.co/W2f4BVHb77
— Jordan Schachtel @ dossier.substack.com (@JordanSchachtel) February 9, 2022
“Any speech the government doesn’t approve is terrorism? Is this the official govt response to @joerogan?” asked Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin.
“Frightening day for America,” she added.
BREAKING: Biden’s DHS has declared a heightened terrorism threat due to “misinformation” and “conspiracy theories” regarding COVID-19.
Any speech the government doesn’t approve is terrorism?
Is this the official govt response to @joerogan?
Frightening day for America.
— Jenny Beth Martin (@jennybethm) February 9, 2022
“DHS is going after Free Speech. How long before they start arresting people who speak-out about our corrupt election?” wrote Arizona gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake.
“Anybody who does not parrot their narrative will be called a domestic terrorist,” she added. “Our Government is full-on authoritarian right now.”
DHS is going after Free Speech. How long before they start arresting people who speak-out about our corrupt election?
Anybody who does not parrot their narrative will be called a domestic terrorist.
Our Government is full-on authoritarian right now. https://t.co/6JuaNrXtbG
— Kari Lake for AZ Governor (@KariLake) February 8, 2022
The recent directives come as the Justice Department is establishing its own “domestic terrorism” unit, and the left continues to routinely describe Republicans and their supporters as a domestic threat to democracy.
On Monday, Salon published a piece branding the GOP a “terrorist organization,” while accusing Republicans and Trump supporters of seeking a war against American democracy, encouraging widescale violence against the left and minorities, and using “stochastic terrorism” to achieve their aims.
The Washington Post published a piece the same day declaring that the “antidemocracy” GOP “stands for insurrection and authoritarianism” and poses a “dire danger to U.S. democracy — and to the lives of ordinary Americans.”
Last month, the New York Times published a piece claiming the U.S. may be on the verge of collapse due to right-wing threats on democracy.
Also, last month, feminist author Dr. Naomi Wolf blasted President Biden for pressuring media outlets to censor COVID “misinformation,” as she warned of a “totalitarian reality” and the “Nazification” of public discourse.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein