White supremacists planned to 'weaponize coronavirus' by leaving saliva on door knobs at FBI offices: Report
White supremacists reportedly deliberated plans to "weaponize" the deadly coronavirus by infecting law enforcement agents and non-whites in the US through the use of spray bottles, laced items, and saliva, the federal government has alleged.
Reports state that federal investigators have been monitoring communications among white supremacist organizations through an encrypted messaging app called Telegram. An intelligence brief written by the Federal Protective Service stated: "Violent extremists continue to make bioterrorism a popular topic among themselves."
"White Racially Motivated Violent Extremists have recently commented on the coronavirus stating that it is an 'OBLIGATION' to spread it should any of them contract the virus," the brief states, a copy of which has been obtained by Yahoo News.
The Federal Protective Service, with the support of the Department of Homeland Security, works to secure buildings owned or leased by the federal government.
White supremacist groups in the country "suggested targeting … law enforcement and minority communities, with some mention of public places in general," according to the intelligence report. The prospective plans of the groups involved spreading coronavirus by leaving "saliva on door handles" at local FBI offices, spitting on elevator buttons, and spreading the virus in particularly "nonwhite neighborhoods."
The report, covered between February 14 and 24, also alleged that white supremacists were beginning to take the threat of the coronavirus pandemic seriously at the time the government was downplaying the danger caused by it. The documents state that white supremacists have been communicating on Telegram about their devotion to a "siege culture" inspired by neo-Nazi author James Mason.
Mason, in the 1980s, had written a series of newsletters called 'Seige,' where he called for racial terrorism as a means to speed up a war which would lead to a breakdown of society. Mason's writings have become popular among violent neo-Nazi groups like the Atomwaffen Division, the Daily Mail reported. The federal government, in the wake of multiple mass shootings by radicalized gunmen in recent months, has been urged to conduct aggressive surveillance of far-right movements.
The coronavirus pandemic has taken over 400 lives and has infected over 35,000 people in the US within days, with most cases being reported in New York. The deadly viral infection has claimed over 14,000 lives across the world, with a total infection of over 340,000 cases and increasing.
Trump, last week, declared New York State as a major disaster area, while NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio declared the city as the epicenter of the US outbreak. The US military will now be called in the city with the US Army Corps of Engineers saying that they plan to take over hotels, sports arenas, college dorms, and other buildings in an attempt to bolster the number of available hospital rooms. New York state went into lockdown last week, with all non-essential businesses shuttered, with just essentials like grocery stores and pharmacies to remain open in a fervent attempt to curb the rapid virus spread.
Trump, over the weekend, also declared Washington and California as disaster zones, with the national guard preparing to deploy its troops there.