The story about how DHS fans the flames of fear is nearly as old as the terror attacks of 9/11.
In 2014, an article in The Council on Foreign Relations revealed how DHS told a scared public that Al Qaida could weaponize Ebola and spread the virus across the country.
“At present, we have no credible information that ISIL is planning to attack the homeland of the United States, but that is not by any means the end of the story,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.
Fast forward 16 years and that same scenario is being played out again, except this time it is with the coronavirus.
Despite having no evidence that terrorists are weaponizing COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistant Director for Infrastructure Protection, Brian Harrell issued a nationwide alert, warning people that terrorists could purposefully infect grocery stores and gas stations with the coronavirus.
An ABC News article titled, “COVID-19 is changing potential terror targets; grocery stores, even testing sites should be vigilant” explained that since most businesses across the country are closed, terrorists ‘could’ decide to target grocery stores and gas stations.
“That’s why federal authorities want grocery stores, gas stations and even COVID-19 testing sites to know that they now could be targeted by terrorists determined to strike inside the U.S. homeland – even if such an event is unlikely.”
Despite not having a shred of evidence to back up their claim, DHS’s latest Minister of Propaganda, Brian Harrell said, “now is the time to engage community businesses and other stakeholders to encourage vigilance and awareness.”
Asking law enforcement to remain vigilant during a pandemic is one thing; but it crosses the line when their mission appears to have changed to becoming harbingers of fear.
DHS has crossed the line of credibility and entered into the world of fake news by asking law enforcement to warn the public of potential COVID-19 grocery store and gas station attacks.
“On Friday, Harrell’s division within DHS, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, issued a nationwide notice saying, it is imperative that law enforcement be alert for potential individuals triggered by the pandemic to inflict further harm, and [that agencies] provide residents with information that can augment community safety and security.”
Two weeks ago, the FBI and DHS issued the same warning but in a less dramatic fashion.
“Two weeks ago, the FBI, DHS and National Counterterrorism Center issued a joint intelligence bulletin that similarly mentioned grocery stores and still-operational businesses as potential targets.“
The UK’s Daily Mail said,
“Law enforcement personnel enforcing stay-at-home orders or interacting with citizens, as well as soft targets such as grocery stores, hospitals, and other essential businesses, will probably remain potential targets for [domestic terrorists] during the course of the pandemic.”
An article in 850 WFTL warned, “we have no information to suggest such attacks are imminent or even likely, instead we are looking to provide you with useful information for planning for restoration of normal operations, whenever that may be.”
Government agencies like the FBI and DHS have a moral responsibility to provide accurate and truthful warnings and not spread fake news.
How can we have any faith in our government when federal agencies use words like ‘could’, ‘possibly’, ‘potentially’ and ‘likely’? They might as well say, it is ‘likely’ people who go outside during the pandemic ‘could possibly’ get the coronavirus and ‘potentially’ spread it to everyone.
We should not let our government use our fear of COVID-19 to justify creating more national surveillance programs like a national coronavirus tracing program, a real-time national coronavirus surveillance program and a new national AI surveillance program.
Using fake news to grow the surveillance state affects everyone and will have long term effects on generations of Americans.