This is going to cause quite a stir.
On Monday, in the Department of Homeland Security’s latest terrorist threat bulletin, the DHS warned of a heightened terrorism alert, partly due to “the proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions.”
In the National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin remaining in effect until June 7 of this year, the DHS states that “The United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors.”
The statement continues to list the source of the threat, which includes “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.”
The DHS further claims that the “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.”
Pointing to the type of misinformation that “inspired violent extremist attacks during 2021,” the DHS statements mention “misleading narratives” about COVID-19 and the 2020 presidential election as its examples.
The bulletin also claims that “The convergence of violent extremist ideologies, false or misleading narratives, and conspiracy theories” are contributing to the “heightened threat of violence in the United States.” The DHS continues its claims by stating that “malign foreign powers” are amplifying these narratives “in efforts to damage the United States.”
The primary terrorism-related threat, according to the DHS’ bulletin, is lone wolves and small cells that have been radicalized by foreign and domestic grievances. Much of this radicalization has occurred after encountering or consuming content about these grievances online.