• DHS memo said domestic terrorism is targetting coronavirus frustrations
  • Memo warns law enforcement to be prepared for extremists violence
  • Previous memos said extremists wanted to expose minorities to disease

A surge in threats against government institutions and officials since the outbreak of COVID-19 has prompted federal authorities to issue warnings to local law enforcement agencies. A recent memo circulated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said domestic terrorism activity is spiking and will likely continue to do so until the end of the pandemic.

The memo, viewed by Politico, was sent out on Thursday by the DHS. Citing a rising number of arrests of individuals making violent threats against officials and institutions, the DHS said a mounting resentment regarding many states’ lockdown policies will likely only spur on further threats.

“Recent incidents and arrests nationwide illustrate how the COVID-19 pandemic is driving violent actors – both non-ideologically and ideologically motivated – to threaten violence. These incidents indicate that COVID-19 is serving as the impetus for some domestic terrorist plots,” the DHS memo reads.

The memo continues: “The pandemic has created a new source of anger and frustration for some individuals. As a result, violent extremist plots will likely involve individuals seeking targets symbolic to their personal grievances.”

According to Politico, this is the fourth memo sent out by the DHS related to coronavirus in recent weeks. One of these memos sent to state and local law enforcement groups included warnings that domestic terrorists were seeking to incite violence by stoking frustrations around the coronavirus lockdowns. Another specifically warned of plan to attack a health clinic in Missouri.

Last month the FBI issued its own warning about how right-wing extremists are using the current crisis as a way to motivate violence against minorities and police. That memo stated that members of these groups were encouraging those who had become infected with the coronavirus to attempt to intentionally infect law enforcement and members of the Jewish community. This included using spray bottles filled with bodily fluids.

The April 23 memo’s release comes roughly a week after a number of protesters in various states gathered to demand the relaxation of restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus. In most cases, demonstrators have gather in states’ capitols to ask for the ability to return to work and to resume their regular routines.

Oregon’s Department of Human Services (DHS) was sued for allegedly placing two minor girls in a foster home with a sexually abusive teen, which laid ground for their physical and mental trauma. In this photo, newly sworn citizens leave the Department of Homeland Security auditorium after participating in a naturalization ceremony in Chicago, Illinois, Feb. 22, 2017. Getty Images/ Scott Olson