August 15, 2022 | The Hill

Uptick in violent rhetoric aimed at FBI following Mar-A-Lago search could be used for recruitment by extremists

The onslaught of threats against the FBI following the search at Mar-A-Lago last week has many across the political spectrum concerned about personal and national security amidst calls for “civil war” and an “armed rebellion.”

ISD US Senior Analyst Katherine Keneally spoke to The Hill about what this violent rhetoric aimed at the FBI could mean for the future of extremist movements, especially in their efforts to recruit new members.

“Any accelerationist groups that are seeing an uptick in people being upset at the FBI, a government agency, works very well for recruitment for an organization that wants to collapse the US government…the seven more nefarious groups are going to use this as a catalyst moment for recruitment,” Katherine said.

Katherine also warned about posts on mainstream and alternative platforms by lawmakers and influencers that use conspiratorial rhetoric and can end up inciting real-world violence: “it certainly plays a role in the radicalization process.” This echoed ISD’s analysis on the Cincinnati gunman, Ricky Shiffer, who was fatally shot after allegedly targeting the local FBI office.

“While they might not be directly calling for violence, the conspiratorial allegations certainly play a role in how these people are radicalized, and how they go down that path, regardless of whether it’s an official stating, ‘kill the FBI’, that’s not what needs to be said to help radicalize. You just accused the FBI of ‘overstepping their boundaries’, or like ‘taking away your constitutional rights’, and that’s what people are mobilizing around,” Katherine said.

This article was also published on local Fox affiliate stations.