Pennsylvania Man Charged With Threatening F.B.I. After Mar-a-Lago Search
Federal prosecutors charged a Pennsylvania man on Monday with posting multiple violent threats against the F.B.I. online in the days that followed the bureau’s search of former President Donald J. Trump’s private club and residence in Florida.
The man, Adam Bies, 46, compared federal agents to K.G.B. and Nazi officers and threatened to kill them, prosecutors said in a complaint. Mr. Bies posted the messages on Gab, the far-right social media app, and wrote under the pseudonym Adam Kenneth Campbell. He explained in a chat log obtained by investigators that he used the false name “so that corporate Murica’” could not “Google” him “out of a job.”
In one of the messages, posted on Aug. 10, two days after the search of Mr. Trump’s club, Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Bies wrote of the F.B.I., “You’ve declared war on us and now it’s open season on YOU,” according to the complaint.
The next day, he posted a message reading, “I sincerely believe that if you work for the F.B.I., then you deserve to die.” On Aug. 12, he invited the “feds” to come get him. Prosecutors said most of the threats posted were made in the days after the F.B.I. executed a search warrant to retrieve classified documents from Mr. Trump’s home.
Mr. Bies was arrested and charged with threatening a federal law enforcement officer. A defense lawyer was not yet listed on his federal case file. He remained in custody and faced a maximum of 10 years in prison if ultimately convicted.
Days earlier, the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security issued what is known as a joint intelligence briefing warning of a spike in threats against federal agents across the country. Last Thursday, a man in Ohio armed with an AR-15-style rifle tried to breach the bureau’s field office in Cincinnati.
That man, Ricky Shiffer, was stopped from entering the office and hours later was shot to death during a standoff with police after firing at officers several times. An account bearing Mr. Shiffer’s name had posted messages on Mr. Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social, urging “patriots” to kill F.B.I. agents.
The investigation of Mr. Bies began on Thursday when the Social Media Exploitation team at the F.B.I.’s National Threat Operations Section received a tip from a private group that monitors far-right extremists. The group warned that a Gab user writing under the handle “BlankFocus” had posted a threat to F.B.I. agents that read, “My only goal is to kill more of them before I drop,” according to court papers.
Federal agents then issued what is known as an Emergency Disclosure Request to Gab for information about the user making the threats and were ultimately given Mr. Bies’s name and address in Mercer, Pa.