The MAGA Threats This Time
Threats proliferate well beyond well guarded DC Courthouse
The Secret Service says it and multiple federal and local authorities are ready for any attempts to disrupt Defendant Trump’s booking at the federal courthouse in downtown D.C. on Wednesday.
That’s all well and good, but even the dimmest MAGA knucklehead knows chances of getting an AR-15 or suicide vest bomb through security on Pennsylvania Avenue this week are virtually zero. Even the U.S. Capitol Police senses there are easier targets of opportunity for far right violent extremists elsewhere, announcing plans on July 27 to open regional field offices across the country—in Texas, Milwaukee and Boston. The Capitol Police opened its first field offices in Florida and California after the Jan. 6, 2021 assault.
Not that it helped Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul when an intruder entered their San Franciso home and beat him last October. The U.S. Capitol Police had put cameras around the house more than eight years earlier, The Washington Post reported. “But hours after Pelosi left San Francisco last week and returned to D.C., much of the security left with her, and officers in Washington stopped continuously monitoring video feeds outside her house.”
With 535 members of Congress under its jurisdiction, the Capitol Police have little chance of intercepting an armed fanatic riled up by Trump’s indictment to hurt a Democrat or his family. So, too, it would seem, the Department of Homeland Security, which reportedly launched an “urgent review” of its politics and practices regarding domestic violent extremism in June 2022 in the wake of the Buffalo and Uvalde massacres. Some 13 months later, the only visible product of the “urgent review” seems to be the elevation of its Office for State and Local Law Enforcement to the assistant secretary level, to “better ensure we, and our partners, are advancing our public safety mission,” DHS honcho Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced July 27.
The Obama Stalker
I couldn’t help wonder if what looks like a cosmetic change was related to the unsettling incident in which a delusional mope live-streamed himself stalking through the woods behind the Obamas’ D.C. home for nearly a half hour on June 29. “I’ll stop at nothing to get the shot,“ Taylor Taranto says in the video, although he may have been referring only to his cell phone camera, which clearly had the Obama’s home in focus from less than 100 yards away. Imagine having a recording of Oswald lining up JFK’s head as the doomed president’s limo rounded into Dealy Plaza.
Taranto was directed to the Obama household, prosecutors said, by a Trump post giving out their specific address.
The feds and law enforcement in at least two jurisdictions, D.C. and adjacent Montgomery County, Md., had been looking for Taranto for about 48 hours because of other live streams in which he threatened to harm Rep. Jamie Raskin as well as send an explosives laden van on a “one way mission” into the National Institute of Standards and Technology Gaithersburg, Md., about 15 miles north of Washington, which has a nuclear research facility. Not only that, but prosecutors said in their Detention Memo that the FBI had been “actively investigating Taranto since shortly after he was identified as a participant in the January 6 riots in 2021.”
Yet they still couldn't find him.
His “lack of a fixed address frustrated efforts to find him,” the feds said—even though he had been living until earlier in the year with a wife in Washington State. Certainly they could have found the vehicle he was driving.
“Upon seeing his threatening comments, law enforcement escalated efforts to locate Taranto and increased resources to assist in the search,” prosecutors said. “However, efforts to locate Taranto that day were unsuccessful.”
Some “monitoring” that was.
The FBI, the U.S. Attorneys office in D.C. and the Metropolitan Police declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
All this does not make one confident that a determined, better trained self-radicalized “lone wolf” can’t get through and take out a representative of “the deep state” that MAGA heads so fear. Or a big federal installation, à la Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 truck-bomb annihilation of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people, 19 of whom were children, and wounded another 680.
Trump, of course, has been goading his followers into more acts of violence. No need to amplify his destructive language here.
“My concern is that the charges and the continued rhetoric from many in positions of power will likely ramp up,” former FBI Special Agent Tom O’Connor, who spent much of his career tracking domestic extremist violence, told me on the occasion of Trump’s Miami indictment in June. “There are those who could potentially use today’s events as a tipping point to attack the ‘deep state,’ which they are being told has been weaponized against ‘their president.’”
Nothing has changed on that front. Indeed, the MAGA forces are ramping up, according to reports. Mike Pence is a main object of their violent threats yet again, along with Special Counsel Jack Smith and U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, assigned to oversee the case accusing Trump of trying to overturn his 2020 election.
“We are seeing an uptick in calls for violence right before and since yesterday’s Trump indictment,” a senior federal law enforcement official told Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson and Jana Winter. “Most of them are directed at the prosecutors and judge,” the official added. “We are tracking online chatter and calls for violence looking for specific credible threats.”
“Tracking online chatter” didn't stop Taylor Taranto from getting within sight of the Obama’s house in a tightly monitored, upscale D.C. neighborhood of narrow streets and doorbell video monitors. Why should we be confident a more determined domestic terrorist won’t get through now?
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