Federal law enforcement warned that white supremacist terrorists had considered weaponising coronavirus through saliva-filled spray bottles and contaminating non-white neighbourhoods with the virus, according to intelligence briefings.
A brief from the Federal Protective Service written last month reported that white supremacists on the encrypted messaging app Telegram discussing spending “as much time as possible in public places with their ‘enemies'” to transmit the virus.
They also plotted targeting law enforcement by leaving “saliva on door handles” and elevator buttons at government offices.
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In a brief obtained by Yahoo News reports that “violent extremists continue to make bioterrorism a popular topic among themselves” and that “white racially motivated violent extremists” had expressed that it was their “obligation” to spread the virus should any of them be infected.
While Donald Trump‘s administration was downplaying the impact of a Covid-19 outbreak within that same timeframe, the Federal Protective Service, part of the US Department of Homeland Security, shows that at least some white terror groups were treating the virus seriously with potentially devastating effects.
The memo follows warnings from the FBI about the increased threat of racially and ethnically motivated extremists, following a record high in hate-motivated attacks and the rise of neo-Nazi and white supremacist violence.
Last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the House Judiciary Committee that the threat of far-right domestic violent extremism has risen to a “national threat priority” for 2020, posing a “steady threat of violence and economic harm” to the US while its underlying drivers — including “perceptions of government or law enforcement overreach, socio-political conditions, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and reactions to legislative actions” — persist.
In 2019, the FBI made 107 domestic terrorism arrests, on pace with the number of arrests it made for international terrorism. Racism and hate-driven ideologies were the driving forces behind most of the ideologically motivated killings and violence in the US in 2018 and 2019, and were the most lethal of all domestic extremism movements over the last 20 years.
He said: “The spate of attacks we saw in 2019 underscore the continued threat posed by domestic violent extremists and perpetrators of hate crimes. Such crimes are not limited to the United States and, with the aid of Internet like-minded hate groups, can reach across borders.”