Sen. Blackburn accuses DHS of 'policing' speech, thoughts of Americans through anti-terrorism bulletin

A DHS national anti-terrorism bulletin urges Americans to report 'potential threats' online

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FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R- Tenn., on Tuesday sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas expressing concern with the department's apparent efforts to control online speech and disinformation.

Her letter came in response to a portion of the department’s "National Terrorism Advisory Bulletin" released last week, which urges Americans to report "potential threats" online and "maintain digital and media literacy to recognize and build resilience to false or misleading narratives."

The bulletin notes the spread of "false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19" online as "[k]ey factors contributing to the current heightened threat environment."

"I am concerned about the appearance of the Department of Homeland Security policing the speech, thoughts, and opinions of American citizens," Blackburn wrote in her letter, exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital. "In issuing this Bulletin, the Department of Homeland Security appears to endorse particular narratives regarding controversial issues that are at the center of our national political conversation."

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She went on to urge DHS to ensure the American public that it "does not consider those who disagree with this administration to be domestic terrorists." 

DHS did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News Digital.

The goal of the bulletin is to prevent the spread of dis- or misinformation online that could potentially lead to harmful behavior and even domestic terrorism.

"The primary terrorism-related threat to the United States continues to stem from lone offenders or small cells of individuals who are motivated by a range of foreign and/or domestic grievances often cultivated through the consumption of certain online content," the bulletin states. "The convergence of violent extremist ideologies, false or misleading narratives, and conspiracy theories have and will continue to contribute to a heightened threat of violence in the United States."

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In remarks prepared for her Thursday speech on the Senate floor, Blackburn will say that through the document, "the Biden administration has made it abundantly clear that they view dissent as a threat, and that punishing dissent is the cost of maintaining public safety."

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) questions Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) questions Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The senator will also say the bulletin "cheapens the horrors of actual terrorism, and dilutes the perceived danger of violent extremism."

"It’s an insult to the memories of those who died in the September 11th attacks and the Oklahoma City Bombing, and to those who were held at gunpoint at a Colleyville, Texas synagogue," Blackburn plans to say in remarks previewed by Fox News Digital.

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Her comments come about five months after the National School Boards Association in a letter asked the Biden administration to review threats and violence against education administrators and schools to determine if they violate the Patriot Act, which aims to deter domestic terrorists, amid clashes between angry parents and educators over COVID-19 policies and critical race theory being taught in classrooms. 

President Biden's Department of Justice relied on the NSBA letter, which suggested using the Patriot Act against parents, in creating its own memo directing the FBI to mobilize in support of local education officials.