The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning officials of an increase in online threats against federal law enforcement agencies following the raid of former President Donald Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago.
“The FBI and DHS have observed an increase in threats to federal law enforcement and to a lesser extent other law enforcement and government officials following the FBI’s recent execution of a search warrant in Palm Beach, Florida,” the document read.
The bulletin urged law enforcement to remain vigilant of “domestic violent extremists.”
One law enforcement official told NBC News that the five-page document stated that threats were coming from multiple platforms, including social media sites, video-sharing platforms and image boards.
The FBI conducted a search on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on August 8, looking for classified documents from his presidency that had not been turned over to the National Archives. The warrant, recently unsealed, showed that authorities are investigating possible violations of the Espionage Act.
Some posters online wrote that Attorney General Merrick Garland “needs to be assassinated,” among other instances of violent rhetoric. The biography and contact information of the federal judge who signed the warrant was wiped from the Florida court’s website to protect him from violent threats.
Anonymous sources with the FBI also warned that possible targets of violence — such as employees of the bureau or those involved in the search — have been doxxed. “Doxxing” refers to the act of releasing identifiable personal information about possible targets of violence, such as home addresses, online. Family members of officials have also been identified as additional targets.
The FBI and DHS bulletin referred to an incident in which a man recently fired a nail gun into the FBI Cincinnati field office as one attack on federal law enforcement following the search.
“Security Division is working across the agency as we continue to stay vigilant and adjust our security posture accordingly,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said following the attack.
The suspect, identified as Ricky Schiffer, expressed his desire to commit violence against FBI agents in an online post prior to the attack. The 42-year-old Navy veteran was armed with an AR-15 and was shot and killed hours later during a standoff on the side of the interstate highway.
Additionally, a Western Pennsylvania man was charged with threatening to assault and murder federal law enforcement officers in the days following the FBI search. Adam Bies allegedly posted numerous threats online, including a statement that everyone “who works for the FBI in any capacity, from the director down to the janitor … deserves to die.”