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FBI attacker was a prolific poster for Trump's Truth Social

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Minutes after an armed man in body armor attempted to break into an FBI field office in Cincinnati, an account named Ricky Schiffer was posted on former President Donald Trump’s social network Truth Social. I posted like It is true that I tried to attack the FBI.”

The Shiffer account appears to be one of Truth Social’s most prolific contributors, posting 374 messages in the past eight days — most of which reflect Trump’s false allegations about election fraud. and hours after FBI agents searched Trump’s Florida home, calling it all — war. “Be prepared to kill your enemies,” Schiffer posted on Tuesday. “kill [the FBI] visibly.

Schiffer was killed in a shootout on Thursday and his Truth Social account was deleted, police said. But calls for violence from Trump supporters are still common online. Including Truth Social, Friday morning’s top “trending topics” were “#FBIcorruption” and “DefundTheFBI.”

Truth Social’s parent company, Trump Media & Technology Group, did not respond to a request for comment.

The Cincinnati shooting marks the latest in a series of attacks on federal officials by Trump and his allied Republicans since FBI agents searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., and the heart of his post. It gives us a glimpse of the dangers of the real world – presidential manipulation.

Also, how such violent outrage is so overtly fueled in loosely moderated online havens like Truth Social, where Trump supporters frequently destroy what they see as enemies and call for civil war. I have shown you how it will be done.

Gunman in FBI attack was a Navy veteran who served on a submarine

Trump, who has repeatedly attacked FBI and Justice Department officials in public messages on Truth Social and elsewhere, told more than three million followers on Thursday that the search for Marlago was “a surprise attack, politics, and all the while our The country is going to hell!”

People familiar with the investigation told The Washington Post that the FBI searched the house for classified documents related to nuclear weapons that could seriously harm national security.

A Twitter account bearing Schiffer’s name contained many messages mimicking Trump’s false claims of a stolen election. He was most active on Truth Social, a Twitter clone Trump created after most social networks blocked him in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2016 Capitol riots. Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., who just opened an account, added: “I’m waiting for your dad.”

Officials declined to comment on whether Schiffer was linked to Truth Social and Twitter accounts, but both of them listed Schiffer’s name, photo and approximate location, and were active before the shooting.

A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told The Washington Post that agents were investigating possible links between Schiffer and extremist groups, including the Proud Boys.

FBI searched Trump’s house for nuclear documents and other items, sources say

A review of Truth Social activity on Schiffer’s account found that he responded to pro-Trump influencers, attacked the government, and implied that violence was the most important way true Trump followers could defend the former president. It turned out that he was posting to the site dozens of times a day.

Similar messages are common on sites, including from Trump himself. In May, Trump reposted a message from another user that read “Civil War.”

However, Schiffer’s Truth social account, which has 23 followers, not only expresses his anger, but also calls for direct action to provoke armed conflict, accusing Trump supporters of hoarding bullets and saying, “Your heart, The mind, and the body, are ready to jump.” plunge into civil war. “

On August 5th he posted: 1776 was much cheaper, even World War II was cheaper.” On that day he also wrote: Anyone who wanted to be a hero couldn’t have lived longer. This post he has been ‘liked’ 24 times.

Shiffer’s post seemed to view the search for Mar-a-Lago as the triggering event. On August 8, the day of the search, he posted: … This is my call to arms for you. As soon as the gun shop opens tomorrow, quit your job and get everything you need to prepare for battle. Never allow this. “

On August 9, he posted that “the patriots are heading to Palm Beach” and that if the “federal government” tries to dismantle it, “kill them”. “I hope to see you there (not unarmed this time),” he wrote in another post of the day.

His second most recent public post was a meme image showing Trump at the White House. His last post on Aug. 11, where police said he tried to break into his FBI office, states: If you don’t hear from me it means it’s true that I tried to attack his FBI and either you’ve been cut off from the internet or the FBI got hold of me or they sent regular cops ’ ends abruptly.

All the posts appeared Thursday night, with no indication that Truth Social attempted to remove them before they disappeared.

Threats of violence surface in search of Trump property

According to Schiffer’s profile, he is a construction electrician in Columbus, Ohio, who has previously blocked or deleted accounts on Twitter, video site Rumble, and other sites. I am ready to treat you like an American.”

The FBI said Thursday that Schiffer tried to break into the field office’s visitor screening area before fleeing onto the interstate. He stopped and raised his gun at police before officers shot him dead, officials said.

Since the attempted break-in to the FBI office, some Truth Social users (including a verified account with 74,000 followers who said they were the site’s designers) have also claimed the attack was staged to impersonate Trump. shared unsubstantiated claims suggesting it was a “false flag.” bad.

After months of low user activity and technical failures, Truth Social remains a minor player on the internet with less than 4 million users. That’s just a fraction of Trump’s 88 million Twitter followers before he banned them.

Since Jan. 6, Trump’s online audience has been split between a number of right-wing sites competing for the same limited following, including Gab, Gettr and Parler, whose follower numbers have stagnated this year.

But David Thiel, a Stanford Internet Observatory researcher who studied the site, said Truth Social was mostly fan-mail, filled with followers eager to reaffirm other members of the Trump base. He said it specializes as a never-ending Trump rally that functions like a board.

“It’s incredibly boring in most ways. “But this is where you would expect this kind of bachelor to show signs that they might move towards something more radical,” Thiel said.

Online traffic to Truth Social jumped to about 700,000 worldwide on Tuesday, the day after the FBI investigation, according to estimates by online analytics firm Similarweb. did. According to Twitter, it has about 37 million active users in the US every day.

Trump’s Truth Social’s disastrous launch calls into question its long-term viability

Gina Lygon, director of the National Center for Counter-Terrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education, a federally funded research center at the University of Nebraska Omaha, said Schiffer’s calls for violence online were similar to those of previous attackers. , said it provided a warning sign for a potential future. attack.

Lygon said Schiffer’s “call for arms” is reminiscent of a similar online post from a suspect who shot 10 black people in a Buffalo grocery store in May. The trend was compared to that of the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, whose 1995 attack killed 168 people.

“The rhetoric that is so loud online right now has been mobilized and should be taken very seriously by people. [McVeigh] “It was an incredibly violent event,” she said.

The connection between Truth Social and the FBI attack shows similarities to Parler, another social media site once popular with Trump supporters and boasting free speech. Prior to Jan. 6, Trump supporters shared a false theory of election fraud and plans to descend on the Capitol to confront lawmakers who voted to lock down the former president’s defeat. Groups were organized and users documented participating in riots. Amazon Web Services, which ran the cloud computing system on which the site relied, immediately shut down the site.

In recent years, domestic terrorist incidents have surged, partly due to the intensification of white supremacist propaganda.

Extremists are using social media to share inflammatory political rhetoric, and the organizers of the January 6 riots are spreading misinformation about the election and planning to call it off. During the coronavirus pandemic, government restrictions have fueled attacks on public health officials and Democrats, such as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who was targeted in a kidnapping plot by members of extremist groups.

The recent altercation reflects a trend in the nation’s psyche. According to polls by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland, one in three Americans said he believes violence against the government is sometimes justifiable, and he’s felt that way for more than two decades. the largest proportion of .