The department said it currently has ‘no information indicating any active plotting is underway.’
THE DEPARTMENT OF Homeland Security has sent a letter to law enforcement officials warning that terrorists may try to seek advantage of the coronavirus pandemic by carrying out attacks on the U.S.
ABC News reported that the agency’s Counterterrorism Mission Center and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office sent a bulletin to law enforcement across the country on Monday saying that extremists may be looking to take advantage of the outbreak.
“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 stated.
The department said it currently has “no information indicating any active plotting is underway,” but it is aware that both foreign and domestic extremist groups are looking to spread misinformation about the pandemic.
The United States currently has more than 49,760 cases of the potentially deadly coronavirus, and 600 people have died.
The DHS memo cited a clipping from a weekly newsletter by the Islamic State group that calls for supporters to carry out attacks against overburdened health care systems in Western countries, according to ABC.
The bulletin also outlined instances of activity by white supremicists who the department says have “advocated for violence against a range of targets, including critical infrastructure and faith-based and minority communities – including Asisan Americans in response to the COVID outbreak.”
FBI Director Chris Wray said in a video message on Thursday that the department is stepping up its monitoring of threats against the U.S.
“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 said. “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.”