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DHS Blames Heightened U.S. Terror Threat On Spread Of COVID-19 ‘Misinformation’

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Monday that a “proliferation of false or misleading narratives” on COVID-19 is contributing to an increased threat of terrorism and violence.

The DHS sent out a terrorism advisory bulletin on Monday warning of a “heightened threat environment” fueled in part by “false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories” spreading online and undermining “public trust in government institutions.” The bulletin also cited “calls for violence” and threats from outside terror groups.

“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,” the bulletin began. The warning is set to expire in June unless renewed.

The memo comes as the Biden administration attempts to crack down on the spread of “misinformation and disinformation” online. Last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki pushed the music and podcasting platform Spotify to further penalize podcast host Joe Rogan, one the of the most popular podcasters in the world, after adding advisory warnings to some of his episodes. Spotify later removed over 100 past episodes of Rogan’s show.

Media outlets, censorship advocates, and progressive activists have targeted Rogan in recent weeks ostensibly over two interviews he conducted with doctors critical of the federal government’s approach to COVID-19. Rogan has also been attacked for his past use of the term “n*****.”

The DHS bulletin lumped together “misleading narratives” on COVID-19 with calls by foreign terror leaders for “retaliation” against the United States as significant drivers of terrorist activity in the U.S.

“The proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions,” is a “key” factor in the “current heightened threat environment,” the bulletin said.

“For example, there is widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19. Grievances associated with these themes inspired violent extremist attacks during 2021,” the DHS memo continued. “Malign foreign powers have and continue to amplify these false or misleading narratives in efforts to damage the United States.”

Rogan, who has apologized for his past use of “n*****,” responded to the backlash against him during a recent episode of his show, calling much of the attacks against him “a political hit job.”

“In a lot of ways, all this is a relief, ’cause that video had always been out there. It’s like, this is a political hit job. And so they’re taking all this stuff that I’ve ever said that’s  wrong, and smushing it all together. But it’s good ’cause it makes me address some s*** that I really wish wasn’t out there,” Rogan said.

“You should apologize if you regret something,” he continued. “This idea that you should never apologize, like if you regret something, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with apologizing. But I do think you have to be very careful not to apologize for nonsense.”

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