Intentionally spreading coronavirus could result in terrorism charge

Intentionally spreading coronavirus could result in terrorism charge

March 25, 2020

People who intentionally spread the coronavirus could be charged under federal terrorism laws, according to a report on Wednesday that cited a top Justice Department official.

“Because Coronavirus appears to meet the statutory definition of a ‘biological agent’ … such acts potentially could implicate the Nation’s terrorism-related statutes,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen wrote in a memo, reported on by Politico. “Threats or attempts to use COVID-19 as a weapon against Americans will not be tolerated.”

In the note sent to top officials in the Justice Department, law enforcement agency heads and US attorneys, Rosen warned that prosecutors and investigators could see cases of “purposeful exposure and infection of others with COVID-19.”

He did not elaborate on whether any threats have been reported.

The agency has also created a task force to look into hoarding and price gouging of supplies needed in the fight against the outbreak, as part of a multi-pronged approach to coronavirus by the DOJ.

At the White House coronavirus briefing Monday, Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department would go after people hoarding supplies considered crucial, as designated by the Department of Health and Human Services.

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