The Department of Homeland Security has sent a memo to law enforcement officials across the nation warning that terrorists may attempt to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic by attacking the US in the near future, according to a report.
The memo by the federal agency’s Counterterrorism Mission Center and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office cautioned that, “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,” ABC News reported.
The agency said it has “no information indicating any active plotting is underway,” but did note that it has evidence of both foreign and domestic extremist groups seeking to spread fake news about the potentially deadly virus.The memo, which was circulated Monday, contained a clipping from a weekly ISIS newsletter that called for supporters to carry out attacks against overwhelmed health care systems in Western countries, according to the report.
Also mentioned in the bulletin are online white supremacists, who the agency says have “advocated for violence against a range of targets, including critical infrastructure and faith-based and minority communities — including Asian Americans in response to the COVID outbreak,” ABC News reported.
Earlier this week, ABC News also reported on an alert from the FBI's New York field office that showed intelligence gathered on racist extremist groups, including neo-Nazis, that were encouraging followers who contract COVID-19 to spread the disease to Jewish people and police officers.