Adding:DHS warns of increase in violent extremism amid coronavirus lockdowns
A DHS memo cites recent arrests of individuals who have threatened government facilities and elected officials over health restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Domestic terrorists and violent extremists are mobilizing in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the threat could get more severe “until the virus is contained and the normal routine of U.S. societal life resumes,” according to a Department of Homeland Security intelligence note sent to law enforcement officials around the country.
The memo, dated April 23 and obtained by POLITICO, cites recent arrests of individuals who have threatened government facilities and elected officials over the health restrictions that have been imposed to stop the spread of Covid-19. The warning, marked unclassified/law enforcement sensitive, was disseminated as so-called Liberate protesters have begun demonstrating outside several states' capitol buildings demanding an end to the lockdowns.
Those arrested in the last month include an “anti-government extremist” who threatened to kill New Mexico’s governor over the coronavirus restrictions, and another individual who was arrested late last month for allegedly threatening to blow up the Orlando Police Department’s headquarters — hours after a countywide stay-at-home order was put into effect — because people are being “put ... out of work” because of the pandemic. ...
“As the COVID-19 threat expands throughout the United States, the violent extremist threat will also continue to evolve, potentially increasing in frequency and severity,” the April 23 memo reads.
While social distancing measures have made mass gatherings less ubiquitous and therefore more difficult for bad actors to target, “the pandemic has created a new source of anger and frustration for some individuals,” the memo says. “As a result, violent extremist plots will likely involve individuals seeking targets symbolic to their personal grievances.”
NBC News: Coronavirus and its social effects fueling extremist violence, says government report
The report cites 2 incidents involving suspected domestic extremists and 2 incidents in Florida that DHS labeled non-ideological.