The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday issued a bulletin warning of a heightened terrorism alert in the United States. One of the “key factors” for the heightened threat, which the DHS considers terrorism, is “the proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions.”
Naturally, this has many folks concerned, especially considering the examples cited in the bulletin which include “false or misleading narratives” about “unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19.”
While parts of the memo cite calls for violence and attacks by foreign terrorist organizations — which are actual terror threats — as cause for concern, the idea that the government’s definition of misinformation could potentially earn you the label of “terrorist,” is shocking.
The bulletin is titled, “Summary of Terrorism Threat to the U.S. Homeland” and reads as follows (emphasis added):
The United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with 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.
These threat actors seek to exacerbate societal friction to sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions to encourage unrest, which could potentially inspire acts of violence. Mass casualty attacks and other acts of targeted violence conducted by lone offenders and small groups acting in furtherance of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances pose an ongoing threat to the nation. While the conditions underlying the heightened threat landscape have not significantly changed over the last year, the convergence of the following factors has increased the volatility, unpredictability, and complexity of the threat environment: