(The Center Square) – The latest U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) terrorist advisory bulletin says Americans who express concerns about election fraud or COVID-19 restrictions could be potential threats to domestic security.
It follows a bulletin issued last August that warned that Americans who question and challenge COVID-19 vaccine mandates could be considered potential “domestic violent extremists.”
Critics note that the DHS bulletin does not identify as a terrorist threat Mexican cartels who have been exploiting President Joe Biden's open border policies by trafficking significantly increased amounts of illegal drugs and people into the U.S. Nor does it mention Antifa and Black Lives Matter organizers involved in anti-police protests and riots.
DHS’s bulletin states that Americans who seek to “exacerbate societal friction to sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions” could be labeled as dissidents and domestic terrorists.
DHS issued its latest warning due to “an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors.”
It cites last month’s Dallas-area hostage situation in which a British Muslim man targeted a Jewish synagogue as an example of “the continuing threat of violence based upon racial or religious motivations, as well as threats against faith-based organizations.”
The incident was widely condemned by the Muslim community in Texas and the U.K. FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno said he “didn’t have any indications that the actions taken against the synagogue were part of any ongoing threat.” Based on law enforcement agencies’ “engagement with the subject,” they “believed he was singularly focused on one issue and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community,” he said.
DHS cites lone offenders and small groups who may cause “mass casualty attacks and other acts of targeted violence,” and refers to “continued calls for violence” being directed at U.S. targets including “perceived ideological opponents.”
While DHS states that “any information or opinions that are considered ‘anti-government’ are considered a ‘threat’ to America’s national security,” Liberty Counsel notes that “anti-law enforcement ideologies such as those espoused by Antifa and Black Lives Matter are not even mentioned.”
Nor are Mexican cartels that have smuggled increased amounts of narcotics and people across the U.S. border with Mexico since Biden took office.
Nearly 2 million people from over 150 countries were apprehended entering the U.S. illegally last year. The majority weren’t tested for the coronavirus or required to get the COVID-19 shots as a condition of entry.
For a number of reasons, DHS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol (BP) agents can’t verify the true identity of everyone who enters the U.S. illegally. DHS also admitted that 50,000 illegal immigrants released into the U.S. by ICE failed to report to their deportation proceedings and ICE didn’t have court information for at least 40,000 others it was tasked with prosecuting last year. The numbers are expected to be greater, since the data only covers a five-month period.
Multiple states have sued over the Biden administration’s failure to secure the border, and elected officials have called for DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to resign or be impeached.
Multiple states also sued over Biden administration mandates requiring U.S. citizens to get the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. But DHS suggests that coronavirus restrictions might be connected to alleged terrorist threats.
“As COVID-19 restrictions continue to decrease nationwide, increased access to commercial and government facilities and the rising number of mass gatherings could provide increased opportunities for individuals looking to commit acts of violence to do so, often with little or no warning,” it states. “Meanwhile, COVID-19 mitigation measures – particularly COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates – have been used by domestic violent extremists to justify violence since 2020 and could continue to inspire these extremists to target government, healthcare, and academic institutions that they associate with those measures.”
No examples of U.S. extremists committing violence because of “vaccine or mask mandates” are cited.
DHS also includes anyone who discusses election integrity and voter fraud as potential threats.
The bulletin states, “Some domestic violent extremists have continued to advocate for violence in response to false or misleading narratives about unsubstantiated election fraud. The months preceding the upcoming 2022 midterm elections could provide additional opportunities for these extremists and other individuals to call for violence directed at democratic institutions, political candidates, party offices, election events, and election workers.”
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said the bulletin is the “latest tactic by the Biden administration to trample on Americans' First Amendment rights and bully law-abiding citizens. When did criticizing government institutions and policies regarding masking and shot mandates become a domestic terrorism threat?
“When did public assemblies alone become a threat?"
DHS’ August bulletin stated, “These threats include those posed by domestic terrorists, individuals and groups engaged in grievance-based violence. Such threats are also exacerbated by impacts of the ongoing global pandemic, including grievances over public health safety measures and perceived government restrictions.”
Pandemic restrictions resulted in Americans losing, or about to lose, their jobs for not complying with federal, state and local government mandates.
Liberty Counsel has sued the administration multiple times over federal and state mandates, arguing they violate federal law and are unconstitutional.
“DHS seems rather paranoid in their need to label anyone as a terrorist who would question the COVID-19 response,” Liberty Counsel said.