FBI investigating ‘unprecedented’ number of threats against office following Mar-a-Lago raid


The bureau, along with the Department of Homeland Security, also issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning of “violent threats” to federal law enforcement, courts, and government personnel and facilities.

On Friday, the names of the two officers who signed the search warrant documents circulated online. The names had been included in a version of the search warrant that was leaked before the documents were officially unsealed. The version released by the court redacted the names of the officers.

Officials from the FBI Headquarters Division Responsible for Personnel Security have also observed efforts by online actors to publicly post — also known as “doxxing” — the personal information of other bureau employees, including those involved in the search of Trump’s residence, a law enforcement source told CNN.

Unlike other officers in the U.S. intelligence community who operate undercover, the overwhelming majority of FBI employees operate in real name, the source noted, making those named in court filings regarding the search particularly vulnerable. to harmful online actors.

The heightened level of threats follows a high-profile week for the office in which officers executed a search warrant on Trump’s property in Palm Beach as part of an evidence-gathering stage in the investigation. a national security investigation into presidential records, including classified documents, taken to Florida. . The warrant, which was unsealed and released by a federal judge on Friday, revealed that the Justice Department was investigating possible violations of the Espionage, Obstruction of Justice and Criminal Handling of Government Records Act, as part of its investigation.
In the days following the raid, violent threats surfaced online, with posters saying ‘Garland must be murdered’ – referencing Attorney General Merrick Garland, who ‘personally endorsed’ the decision to seek a warrant – and “kill all feds”. Additionally, the biography and contact information of the federal magistrate judge who signed the search warrant was removed from a Florida court’s website after he too became the target of violent threats.
In another incident Thursday, a man who was believed to be armed with an AR-15 rifle and a nail gun attempted to break into the FBI’s field office in Cincinnati. He was killed hours later after a confrontation with authorities. Although the suspect’s motive has not yet been identified, he was known to the FBI because he had an unspecified connection to the January 6, 2021 riot at the United States Capitol and because he had associates within a far-right extremist group, two law enforcement sources told CNN on Friday.

FBI Director Chris Wray addressed the safety of bureau workers in a memo distributed this week.

“Let me also assure you that your safety and security is my primary concern at this time. The Security Division is working across the agency as we continue to remain vigilant and adjust our security posture accordingly” , Wray said in the statement reviewed by CNN.

The FBI’s Security Division in Washington has advised the bureau’s more than 38,000 employees nationwide to remain vigilant when operating in and around bureau facilities, two law enforcement sources told CNN. federal.

The FBI declined to comment on any specific threats against bureau employees, but told CNN in a statement that the bureau “remains concerned about violence and threats of violence against law enforcement, including males.” and the women of the FBI”.

“We are working closely with our law enforcement partners to assess and respond to such threats, which are reprehensible and dangerous,” the statement said. “As always, we would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious, report it to law enforcement immediately.”

Bulletin warns of threats against authorities and government personnel

On Friday, the FBI and DHS released a joint intelligence bulletin highlighting the increased threat landscape.

“These threats occur primarily online and across multiple platforms, including social media sites, web forums, video-sharing platforms, and image boards. ensuring that law enforcement, courts and government personnel are aware of the range of criminal and violent threats and incidents,” the bulletin read.

Friday’s Joint Intelligence Bulletin notes an increase in violent online threats against federal officials and facilities, “including a threat to place a so-called dirty bomb outside FBI headquarters and to issue general calls for the” civil war” and “armed rebellion”. It also says the FBI and DHS have identified threats against specific individuals, including the federal judge who approved Mar-a-Lago’s search warrant.

DHS has been warning for more than a year that people will use political ideologies to justify acts of violence, and highlighted in the latest warning the threat posed by domestic violent extremists motivated by perceptions of excessive government and fraud. electoral.

In June, for example, the intelligence arm of DHS also alerted law enforcement, first responders and private sector partners nationwide to possible domestic violence extremist activity in response to the ruling. of the Supreme Court on abortion.

After the Jan. 6 attack, alternative social media platforms grew more popular among Trump supporters after companies like Facebook and Twitter banned Trump and other prominent figures who spread election conspiracy theories.

These platforms, like Trump’s own Truth Social site, present themselves as bastions of free speech, with looser rules and moderation, but that leeway can lead to the proliferation of violent rhetoric.

However, talking about violence is not exclusive to more fringe platforms. There was an increase in tweets on Monday mentioning the “Civil War” – at times, more than one tweet per second, according to a CNN review of data from Dataminr, a service that tracks Twitter activity.

This story has been updated with additional reports.

CNN’s Evan Perez and Shawna Mizelle contributed to this report.

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