FBI Director Says Threats Against Agents After Mar-a-Lago Search Are 'Deplorable and Dangerous'

·3 min read
FBI Director Says Threats Against Agents After Mar-a-Lago Search Are 'Deplorable and Dangerous'

FBI Director Christopher Wray is slamming what he called "deplorable and dangerous" threats received by federal agents after this week's search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.

At a news conference held at an FBI field office in Omaha, Nebraska, Wednesday, Wray said, "I'm always concerned about threats to law enforcement. Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you're upset with."

According to ABC News, Wray declined to offer a specific comment about the Mar-a-Lago search, saying, "Well, as I'm sure you can appreciate that's not something I can talk about," but did note that, "in the last few years we've had an alarming rise in violence against law enforcement."

Threats against agents have proliferated on extremist, far-right corners of the web in the days since the FBI executed the warrant on Monday at the home of the former president, 76.

RELATED: What It Takes to Get a Federal Search Warrant Like the One the FBI Executed at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Home

ABC News cites a report by the extremism-monitoring think-tank Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which compiled online messages in which Trump supporters called for demonstrations at FBI offices in California and Washington, D.C. to "protest FBI tyranny."

That sort of language has been echoed by Republican lawmakers, who have used phrases like "tyranny," "banana republic" and even "civil war" to describe the country following the agency's legal search.

Wray — who, as FBI director, authorized the search of Mar-a-Lago — was appointed director of the agency in 2017 by Trump after he fired former director James Comey.

christopher wray
christopher wray

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Christopher Wray

Despite claims from some corners of the web, and from some far-right politicians, obtaining a search warrant is not a political process, and requires that law enforcement officials show probable cause for conducting the search. That means there should be reasonable information to support the possibility that evidence of illegality will be found during the search.

But the issuing of a search warrant does not mean that the subject is guilty or even accused of a crime, as The New York Times points out.

RELATED: The FBI's Mar-a-Lago Search Stemmed from an Informant: Report

The search conducted at Trump's home was part of the investigation into an alleged mishandling of White House records, including potentially classified materials, PoliticoCNNThe Washington Post and other news outlets reported.

Trump handed over 15 boxes of materials to the National Archives earlier this year, but questions remained regarding whether more (potentially classified) documents may be at his Palm Bach, Florida, home.

The Wall Street Journal reports that "a senior Justice Department national security supervisor and three FBI agents" visited Mar-a-Lago on June 3, specifically to discuss records being stored there.

Weeks later, according to new reports by both by Newsweek and the Journal, the FBI was tipped off to the existence of other documents that had not been handed over, by an informant.

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Newsweek's reporting echoes that of the Journal, citing two government officials who said that a "confidential human source ... was able to identify what classified documents former President Trump was still hiding and even the location of those documents."

The agency then subpoenaed security footage at Mar-a-Lago and, on Monday, executed a search warrant at the property.