Reprinted with permission from Alternet
Officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are warning that false narratives and dangerous rhetoric could lead to more violent events orchestrated by right-wing extremists. Speaking with CNN, a senior official for DHS has shed light on the possible uptick in violent extremism with states easing coronavirus mitigation guidelines.
"You're going to have more people out. You're going to have more people in public places. And you increase the opportunities for individuals or groups of individuals who are interested in conducting attacks," a senior DHS official told the news outlet.
Officials have noted that the possible rise in violence may be linked to the latest conspiracy theory that suggests former President Donald Trump will be reinstated in August.
"The August theory is essentially a recycled version of other false narratives pushed by Trump and his allies leading up to and after January 6, prompting familiar rhetoric from those who remain in denial about his 2020 election loss. But the concern is significant enough that DHS issued two warnings in the past week about the potential for violence this summer."
On Wednesday, June 30, DHS officials briefed lawmakers on the latest intelligence as they raised concerns about the next several weeks. The publication notes that a Congressional source with knowledge of the meeting has revealed "misinformation and disinformation play in creating circumstances for people to act violently."
The latest report comes just says after DHS warned about the increased possibility domestic terrorist attacks with COVID mitigation guidelines waning.
"You're going to have more people out. You're going to have more people in public places. And you increase the opportunities for individuals or groups of individuals who are interested in conducting attacks," a senior DHS official told the publication at the time.
Over the weekend, Trump supporters in Ohio noted how they would respond if the former president is not reinstated as they expect.
"We are going to be in a civil war," one Trump supporter told CNN's Donie O'Sullivan.
A spokesperson for DHS has also noted that the department is "focused on the nexus between violence and extremist ideologies" and is working to "prevent acts of domestic terrorism inspired by disinformation, conspiracy theories, and false narratives spread through social media and other online platforms."
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