FBI Warns of Violent Threats After Search of Trump’s Home
WASHINGTON — The FBI is warning this week about the increased risk of politically motivated “violent threats” following the Aug. 8 search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate.
Many of the threats are directed at law enforcement and government personnel. They include advice to watch for insurrectionists who might “place a so-called Dirty Bomb in front of FBI headquarters,” according to an FBI bulletin sent to law enforcement agencies.
The threats are “occurring primarily online and across multiple platforms,” the joint FBI-Homeland Security Department bulletin says.
Examples can be found on the social media website Gab, which is popular with white supremacists. Some users said they are preparing for an armed revolution.
The FBI bulletin said extremists are calling for “civil war” and “armed rebellion” while recommending targets, tactics and weapons.
With words similar to the way he incited violence during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, the former president is attacking the FBI for what he said is political reprisal.
Trump was referring to the fact FBI agents seized 11 sets of documents he took with him when he left the White House. Some of them were classified as top secret while a smaller number were listed as “SCI.”
SCI is an acronym for “sensitive compartmented information.” It is restricted to only a small number of people with the highest security clearances.
Government procedures normally require SCI documents to be read in a protected room by a small number of authorized persons.
The Justice Department is using the documents seized under authority of a search warrant as evidence against Trump as he is investigated for possible espionage. He says he declassified the documents before he took them under his authority as the then-president.
The investigation has enraged and incited his supporters, which contributed to the FBI bulletin.
This time, Trump appears to be making more of an effort to quiet tensions before they spiral out of control.
On Monday, the former president directed his representatives to contact the Justice Department to see what he could do to alleviate the threats.
“Whatever we can do to help … because the temperature has to be brought down in the country,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News. “If it isn’t, terrible things are going to happen.”
At the same time, he defended some of his supporters who are making the threats when he said they are “not going to stand for another scam” in an apparent reference to the 2020 presidential election he lost to Joe Biden.
“People are so angry at what is taking place,” he said.
So far, the most violent incident among his supporters was last week in Cincinnati, Ohio, where a man attacked the FBI field office. He fled when an alarm went off in the FBI’s Visitor Screening Facility.
As police pursued him, the 42-year-old man reportedly shot a gun at them from his car. Police shot and killed him minutes later.
Other non-violent protesters gathered outside Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida and near the FBI field office in Phoenix, Arizona, over the weekend.
Trump’s supporters and detractors in Congress also are taking sides for him or against him while repeating concerns similar to the FBI bulletin.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that Trump’s criticisms of the FBI and Justice Department were “inflammatory.”
“I don’t want to put any law enforcement in the bull’s-eye of a potential threat,” McCaul said.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that “I thought in the old days the Republican Party used to stand with law enforcement. And I hope some of them do today because this kind of rhetoric is very dangerous to our country.”
The FBI reports that it is increasing security at its field offices.
FBI Director Christopher Wray noted the rise in domestic violence during his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee days before the raid on Mar-a-Lago.
“I feel like every day I’m getting briefed on somebody throwing a Molotov cocktail at someone for some issue,” Wray said. “It’s crazy.”