“The FBI is used to this type of thing and when something of national significance happens, it can trigger bad actions by disturbed individuals,” said Kevin Brock, a former Assistant Director of Intelligence for the agency.
Police said they are still investigating the motive of the man, who was identified as 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer. Police said they were determining whether or not Shiffer had ties to any right-wing extremist groups, according to The Associated Press.
Nevertheless, Brock said threats against the agency, and agents themselves, is nothing new for them.
“We have seen the FBI… I frankly, received threats all the time. I did personally as an agent; I had people threaten me when I executed searches,” said Brock.
There have been growing threats in recent days against FBI agents and offices across the country since federal agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, the home of former President Donald Trump. On Gab, a social media site popular with white supremacists and anti-Semites, users have warned they are preparing for an armed revolution.
Bock said it’s easy for social media to exacerbate politically-volatile situations.
“Social media provides a platform for people to vent. (Shiffer) had some posts that looked like he was calling for violence against federal officials,” he said. “In an ideal world that would trigger a visit from some law enforcement entity to confront them and see whether they’re dealing with a serious situation or not.”
But the volume of social media threats, whether they’re serious or “venting”, remains a concern for Brock.
“It is so pervasive, so widespread. It’s hard, based on resources, to get your arms around all of that at that same time.”