Information Manipulation Seen by the US as Major Terrorist Threat

Information Manipulation Seen by the US as Major Terrorist Threat

Computer screen illustration by PIXABAY

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The information issue is at the center of a new US Terrorism Threat bulletin. Threat levels throughout the US remain heightened due to mis-, dis-, and mal-information, stoked by foreign and domestic sources, warns the latest National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Foreign and domestic threat actors use MDM campaigns to cause chaos, confusion, and division. As defined by CISA, misinformation is false, but not created or shared with the intention of causing harm; disinformation is deliberately created to mislead, harm, or manipulate a person, social group, organization, or country; and malinformation is based on fact, but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate. 

While much focus has been paid to the attack on the U.S. Capitol more than a year ago, 2021 also saw its share of mass shootings, anti-mask sentiment, and growing vocal divides across the political aisle. 

The Summary of Terrorism Threat to the U.S. Homeland bulletin notes that the conditions underlying the heightened threat landscape of the country have little changed, but their effects are growing. 

The key factors that have increased the volatility, unpredictability, and complexity of the current threat environment are elaborated in the DHS bulletin, which identifies the following major sources of the problem:

  1. The proliferation of false or misleading narratives that have undermined trust in U.S. government institutions and sow societal discord
  2. Calls for violence against U.S. critical infrastructure, religious institutions, mass gatherings, government facilities and personnel, the media, and perceived ideological opponents
  3. Increasing calls for attacks on the United States, based on recent events, by foreign terrorist organizations

The more unrest spurred, the more potential for people to be inspired to acts of violence, DHS warned. Often, this can be reflected in lone offenders and small groups alike, either pushing ideological beliefs or pursuing personal grievances – and they pose as much a threat as anything, as reported by