DHS denies GOP’s claim that terrorism bulletin is an attempt

The bulletin released earlier this month includes concerns about the link between violent extremism and electoral fraud and the spread of “false or misleading narratives” related to COVID-19.
These politically fraught topics sparked a Republican backlash against the department, including a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security. seeking amendment to the bulletin.

On Thursday, a taskforce message sent by John Cohen, who leads the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, said the bulletin was “transparency on the threat environment to all Americans” with guidance and resources to prevent terrorism. provides.

The message also linked to Cohen’s remarks earlier this week, in which he said it was “irresponsible” to suggest that the DHS or the Biden administration were trying to probe people because of their political beliefs. Cohen said the intelligence behind the bulletin was shared with members of Congress.
“So for public figures, especially those who know better, and know the reality of the threat environment, to suggest that somehow the department or administration is trying to open doors for people to investigate because their political beliefs, or those involved in constitutionally protected speech, I mean, quite frankly, it’s irresponsible,” Cohen said in his memo on Tuesday at a discussion hosted by the George Washington University Program on Extremism. . “And it may also contribute to the instability of the threat environment.”

A similar message was also shared with state and local partners outside DHS on Friday, according to a source familiar with the notification.

DHS on 7 February Updated its National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin – one of the primary mechanisms used by DHS to inform the public about potential terrorist threats.

In part, it warned that the convergence of violent extremist ideologies, false or misleading narratives, and conspiracy theories “will and will continue to contribute to the growing threat of violence in the United States.”

For example, the bulletin states: “Unfounded widespread election fraud and stories about COVID-19”.

“Complaints related to these topics prompted violent extremist attacks during 2021,” it says.

On Tuesday, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Meyerkas urging the department to update the bulletin.

“I am concerned about the presence of the Department of Homeland Security on the speech, views and opinions of American citizens,” he wrote, adding that DHS “supports particular narratives about the contentious issues that are at the heart of our national political There are conversations.”

She also wrote, “The department comes dangerously close to suggesting that publicly disagreeing with the current administration is tantamount to domestic terrorism.”,

Former President Donald Trump accused the Biden administration of “doing anything to keep track of the massive irregularities and voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election” and called on the DHS to focus on the frontline.
Over the years, Trump has embraced conspiracy theories about voter fraud, CNN has previously reported, along with fact-checks debunking the former president’s claims on the issue.
Republican censors. Marco Rubio of Florida And Ron Johnson of Wisconsin also spoke out against the bulletin.
The new bulletin states that if DHS thinks you post “misleading stories and conspiracy theories,” or “false-and-and-misinformation” on topics such as COVID-19, you may be considered a domestic terrorist. Will be dubbed. Will I be next? Will you? This should scare every American.” johnson tweeted,

When asked about the recent criticism during a GW panel discussion, Cohen said, “Our job is not to police thinking. Our job is to prevent acts of violence. We don’t monitor individuals because they are constitutionally protected.” protected speech.”

His remarks and the memo are an attempt to refute allegations that the bulletin had a political motive.

,[A]Anyone who suggests that this NTAS reflects a strategy to target this Administration and this Department for investigation, individuals, simply because of their political or other beliefs, have either not read the NTAS, understands this. or intentionally misrepresenting it,” he added.

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