As threats of violence against federal agents increased in the past week following the FBI search of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and residence, more voices joined the chorus of condemnation of such rhetoric.

On August 8, FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago, prompting a barrage of criticism, including from Trump and Republican lawmakers, as well as threats against federal law enforcement personnel. Then on Aug. 12, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning of an increase in threats, mainly online, to federal law enforcement officials following the manhunt, several news outlets reported.

“Threats of violence, intimidation and physical attacks against law enforcement and government officials have no place in civil society,” Everett Kelly, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a statement Monday. “To uphold the rule of law and protect the safety of the 700,000 public servants we represent, political leaders must tone down their overheated rhetoric and allow federal law enforcement officers to do their jobs without political interference.”

Ken Thomas, national president of the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees, noted that “FBI agents are public servants who serve in presidential administrations” whose “jobs save American lives every day.”

“It is tragic that the lives of FBI agents across the country must be put at greater risk than they already are in response to a lawful search pursuant to a court-approved warrant,” Thomas said.

On Monday, Chad Hooper, executive director of the Professional Managers Association, which represents professional managers, management and non-bargaining employees in the federal government and the IRS, said the association “expresses our extreme disgust at the current threats of violence against FBI agents and federal law enforcement agencies.

“The greater trend toward violence against the federal workforce and the acceptance of violence as an acceptable feature of our political system ignores the reality of how democracy is supposed to work,” Hooper said. “Politicians attacking individual federal employees or classes of federal employees only further reinforces misconceptions about how our political system works and encourages these attacks.” He noted that this is happening now as politicians attack plans to hire 87,000 employees of the Internal Revenue Service under the Inflation Reduction Act. (The Biden administration has rejected claims that it would double the size of the IRS).

As for lawmakers, Congressman Benny Thompson, Md., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, on Monday condemned the recent acts of violence and threats against federal law enforcement officials and others in government, which have come primarily from “right-wing extremists online. The threats are “frighteningly similar to those we saw in the run-up to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.”

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who faces a tough primary on Tuesday as she has become a prominent critic of Trump and is vice chair of the House committee investigating the Capitol attack, tweeted on August 11: “I was embarrassed to hear members of my party attack the integrity of the FBI agents involved in the recent Mar-a-Lago raid. These are despicable comments that put the lives of patriotic public servants at risk.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence who is a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, is one of many Republicans calling for more transparency on the search, especially with the affidavit in support on a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.

“I have urged all my colleagues to make sure they understand the weight of their words and [understand] what we don’t know yet,” Fitzpatrick said on “Face the Nation” last Sunday. He added that “in my few short years in Congress, I have seen an undermining of all three branches of government, leading to threats of violence and acts of violence, from the assault on my fellow baseball team members on the baseball field, to threats of Supreme Court Justices, of threats against law enforcement, both local and during the summer 2020 riots.”

Asked if Trump should be included among those following their words, he said: “Exactly. Correct. I think everyone should be calling for calm,” noting that he is “very concerned” about the safety of law enforcement officers.

Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray both condemned the threats against federal personnel last week as did the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and the FBI Agents Association.

Amid the divisive and threatening rhetoric, some threats seem to have materialized.

Last Thursday, a gunman who tried to break into the FBI building in Cincinnati was shot and killed after a standoff with police. He apparently threatened federal agents on social media after the Mar-a-Lago raid and is believed to have been at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. according to the Associated Press.

Then on Monday, the Department of Justice announced that a Pennsylvania man was arrested on charges last Friday of making threats against FBI agents following a raid in Mar-a-Lago.

Adam Bice is said to have written on a far-right social media platform that his “only goal is to kill more of them before I go down” and “If you work for the FBI then you deserve to die”. He also allegedly wrote: “HEY FEDS. We the people can’t wait to water the trees of liberty with your blood. I will wait for you to break down my door.”

A detention hearing for Bies is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, according to court documents. executive authority reached out to Sarah Levin, the federal public defender representing Bies, but she did not immediately return a call for comment.

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