FBI calls threats to law enforcement ‘reprehensible’ and urges public to be vigilant

FBI calls threats to law enforcement ‘reprehensible’ and urges public to be vigilant
Agency makes public statement after issuing joint memo with DHS warning of threats

The FBI is warning of “reprehensible” rhetoric and threats targeting FBI agents and personnel and urging the public’s assistance in stopping domestic extremism after the bureau’s office in Ohio was attacked and it continues to face the wrath of Donald Trump’s supporters.

A statement from the agency was provided by a spokesperson to The Independent on Monday, days after it joined with the Department of Homeland Security in a joint internal memo warning that threats of violence against FBI and law enforcement personnel were on the rise after the execution of a search warrant last week at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and resort.

The agency is investigating the alleged illegal retention of classified documents with potential national security implications at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, a relatively unsecure location compared to the White House.

“The FBI is always concerned about violence and threats of violence to law enforcement, including the men and women of the FBI. We work closely with our law enforcement partners to assess and respond to such threats, which are reprehensible and dangerous,” said the spokesperson for the bureau.

“As always, we would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious to report it to law enforcement immediately,” they continued.

The statement comes after an armed protest outside of the bureau’s headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as a shooting and standoff that began at the agency’s headquarters building in Cincinatti, Ohio.

In the agency’s memo over the weekend, it directly linked the sharp rise in violent threats to Mr Trump’s efforts to stoke his supporters’ anger, though not mentioning the former president by name.

Officials wrote that “the FBI and DHS have observed an increase in violent threats posted on social media against federal officials and facilities,” and said that the surge can be attributed to the execution of “a court-authorized search warrant in Palm Beach, Florida”.

Many legal analysts have speculated that Mr Trump or his staff could face serious criminal liability if classified documents were present at Mar-a-Lago after the president left the White House, especially given that his team previously told the Justice Department that those documents had been returned. The New York Times also reported that some of the documents may involve nuclear materials, raising the stakes even higher.

The Justice Department also continues to run a separate grand jury investigation surrounding the events of January 6; it isn’t clear yet whether the raid at Mar-a-Lago was at all related to that probe given that the contents of the documents is unknown by the public.