FBI and DHS Experiencing an Increase in Violent Threats Following Mar-a-Lago Search
22:43 GMT 14.08.2022 (Updated: 14:05 GMT 19.12.2022)
On Monday the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched former President Donald Trump’s private residence of Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. Equipped with a publicly available search warrant, FBI agents entered Mar-a-Lago as a part of an investigation into the mishandling of classified documents which Trump had taken to the private residence.
A federal grand jury first issued a subpoena to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in mid-May to gain access to government documents that Trump took to his personal residence of Mar-a-Lago. In accordance with the Presidential Records Act, presidents are required to turn over documents to the National Archives.
The NARA was also in contact with Trump’s lawyers for over a year prior to the search of Mar-a-Lago.
Following the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago, both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have issued a joint intelligence memo in which they reported an increase in threats to federal law enforcement officials. The threats, according to the government agencies, are coming online from “multiple platforms, social media sites, web forums, video sharing platforms, and image boards.”
"The FBI and DHS would like to ensure that law enforcement, court, and government personnel are aware of the range of threats and criminal and violent incidents," the memo reads. It also warns employees and other officials to be cautious of domestic violent extremists and to be vigilant of possible threats.
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14 August 2022, 17:31 GMT
Three days after the search of Mar-a-Lago, a 42-year-old Navy veteran named Ricky Shiffer attempted to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati field office after posting to Trump’s social media site Truth Social a desire to kill FBI agents and encouraging others to do the same.
"When they come for you, kill them," Shiffer is believed to have written on Truth Social, in a post that was since removed by the site’s moderators. "Be an American, not a steer."
“Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t,” Shiffer allegedly later wrote on the site. “If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I., and it’ll mean either I was taken off the internet, the F.B.I. got me, or they sent the regular cops.”
A standoff and shootout took place hours after Shiffer attempted to break into the FBI’s field office while armed with a nail gun and an AR-15-style rifle. The 42-year-old was spotted by a state trooper on Interstate 71 after fleeing the FBI’s office. The trooper attempted a traffic stop on Shiffer and a shootout followed, killing Shiffer.
The FBI is now investigating the attack, allegedly led by Shiffer, as an act of domestic terrorism.
13 August 2022, 11:04 GMT
Other threats circulated online following the search of Trump’s residence—which the former president bemoaned as a “raid”—including a poster which reads, “Garland needs to be assassinated,” in reference to Attorney General Merrick Garland who approved the decision to seek a search warrant for Trump’s estate. Garland has since made a public statement on the matter, adding that copies of the warrant were provided to Trump’s lawyers who were present during the search.
Some Republican lawmakers fanned the flames when they accused the FBI of being politically motivated in their search of Mar-a-Lago.
“There has been a lot of commentary about the FBI this week questioning our work and motives," said FBI Director Chris Wray on Thursday. "Much of it is from critics and pundits on the outside who don't know what we know and don't see what we see. What I know — and what I see — is an organization made up of men and women who are committed to doing their jobs professionally and by the book every day; this week is no exception."