On August 8, FBI officers searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home seeking documents.
Violent threats against federal investigators have increased in the weeks that have followed.
In response to the trend, the FBI issued a warning, and politicians have urged social media companies to take action.
Threats against federal investigators have increased online—and among some Republican politicians—nearly two weeks after the FBI carried out a search warrant at the Mar-a-Lago property of the former president Donald Trump.
According to Laura Italiano of Insider, analysts saw a noticeable surge in references to violence and “civil war” on social media sites like Facebook, Telegram, and Gab after the Mar-a-Lago raid.
According to Alex Friedfeld, a researcher with the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, “among these right-wing and extremist spaces, they see the Mar-a-Lago search not as a valid legal process but as the first shots of a war by the federal government.” As a result, you’re seeing demands for people to arm themselves, to lock and load, and to be prepared to protect themselves with actual bullets.
In response to the rising threats against federal officers, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security released a warning alert on August 12. According to NBC, the FBI said detailed and serious threats had been posted along with personal identifying information about potential victims of violence, such as home addresses, as well as the naming of family members as additional targets.
The advisory also mentioned an Ohio gunman who attempted to break into an FBI field office in Cincinnati on August 11 while armed with an AR-15 rifle and a nail gun. In a shootout with police, the suspect was slain.
After the Mar-a-Lago search, Adam Bies, 47, was detained in Pennsylvania and accused with repeatedly threatening to kill FBI agents.
According to an FBI document supporting Bies’ arrest, one of his tweets on Gab stated, “Every single piece of shit that works for the FBI in any form, from the director down to the janitor who cleans their fucking toilets deserves to die.” You’ve declared war on us, thus it’s now fair game for YOU.
Since certain Republican lawmakers have amplified and occasionally exacerbated the demands for violence, the threats are not just coming from isolated or online commentators.
In a campaign video released this week in Florida, Republican candidate for the US House Martin Hyde claimed that if the FBI tried to search him like they did at Mar-a-Lago, they would leave his home “in a corpse bag.” Luis Miguel, a candidate for Florida’s state house, was also banned from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook after declaring that it would be acceptable to shoot federal officials “on sight.”
Following the search at his home, Trump said in a Fox News interview that “awful things are going to happen” in reaction to the increasing threats and that the nation is in a “very dangerous position.”
Democratic senators are urging action from social media companies they claim host calls for violence in reaction to the “rush of deadly threats” and calling for enhanced cooperation with government agencies.
The social media platforms Meta, Twitter, TikTok, Truth Social, Rumble, Gettr, Telegram, and Gab received letters on August 19 from Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, requesting internal metrics about the calls for violence and information about how such threats are monitored.
The letter to the social media companies stated, “We are concerned that careless remarks by the former President and Republican Members of Congress have unleashed a flood of violent threats on social media that have already resulted in at least one death and pose a danger to law enforcement officers throughout the United States. We kindly request that you respond to any threats of violence against law enforcement that occur on your company’s platforms right away.
An official from Twitter confirmed to Insider that the business had received the letter and that enforcement teams were keeping an eye out for any violations of the platform’s current standards against abusive behavior, threats of violence, and hate speech.
The Twitter spokeswoman continued, “As always, we examine requests from law enforcement in accordance with our published procedures for law enforcement requests.”
According to The Washington Post, Gab CEO Andrew Torba stated that the site is “evaluating” its response to Congress and that it swiftly complied with all demands from law authorities on the arrest in Pennsylvania. According to Remi Vaughn, a Telegram spokesman, the business prohibits calls to violence and keeps track of violent threats via a combination of user reports and proactive moderation.
Insider’s inquiries for comments on Gab, Telegram, Meta, TikTok, Truth Social, Rumble, and Gettr were not immediately answered.
The lawmakers also questioned the businesses in the letters they issued on Friday about whether legislation could be required to “protect law enforcement officers and strengthen coordination with federal authorities.” As of yet, no such law has been proposed.
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