(NewsNation) — The FBI issued a warning to all its agents and employees to stay on alert, and not wear their ID badges visibly outside FBI offices after an armed gunman tried to break into the FBI Cincinnati field office.
FBI Director Christopher Wray did not tie the warning or Cincinnati incident directly to the FBI search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday, but rather said it was due to “recent media coverage” of the FBI.
Now, there is growing concern around the nation that more attacks could come as the FBI faces increased scrutiny from Republicans and Trump supporters in wake of the search of Trump’s estate.
“The men and women of the FBI, their integrity, the trustworthiness of the FBI, was being called into question; we realized it was going to take years, if not decades to repair that,” former FBI agent Stuart Kaplan told NewsNation on Thursday.
In this image taken from FOX19 Cincinnati video, FBI officials gather outside the FBI building in Cincinnati, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. An armed man decked out in body armor tried to breach a security screening area at the FBI field office in Ohio on Thursday, then fled and exchanged gunfire in a standoff with law enforcement, authorities said. (FOX19 Cincinnati via AP)
Brian O’Hare, president of the FBI Agents Association said in a statement that “threats made recently contribute to an atmosphere where some have, or will, accept violence against law enforcement as appropriate,” according to the Washington Post.
Kaplan was not alone in the parade of former FBI agents speaking out against the threats coming to the bureau, former agent Dennis Franks said while some skepticism of government, including the FBI, is healthy, the level of threats and violence being seen now goes too far.
“The men and women at the FBI are just trying to do the right thing, they work hard every day, every night to protect the United States and they do that without recognition,” Franks said Thursday on “NewsNation Prime.” “It’s just disappointing that it’s come to this point in our society that rhetoric has gotten out of control.”
Larry Cosme, the president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, called the rhetoric being tossed at the FBI “shameful and disgusting.”
Republicans amp up attacks on FBI following search
Republicans are falling in line in defense of Trump after the execution of the search warrant, in which the FBI found top secret documents at Mar-a-Lago. Party members have accused the Department of Justice and the FBI of being “corrupt” and out to get Trump.
“Mr. President, I said, the American people, your supporters, are concerned with this corrupt DOJ and the FBI,” said Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas.
FBI Director Wray was appointed to his position by Trump.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, with Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., back left, and former OMB director and president of Citizens for Renewing America Russ Vought, as they express their opposition to “critical race theory,” during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
House Republicans have also made it a point to drag President Joe Biden into the incident, one of which he claims he had no prior knowledge, alleging Biden is “weaponizing” the Justice Department. They are even threatening to launch their own investigation if they win back Congress in November.
“The House Republican majority will leave no stone unturned when it comes to transparency and accountability into the brazen politicization of Joe Biden’s Department of Justice and FBI targeting their political opponents,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.
Republican heavyweight Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor whose star is considered to be rising quickly in the GOP, joined in the chorus of FBI criticism as well.
DeSantis called the search “another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the regime’s political opponents.”
Not all Republicans were quick to jump on the FBI or Justice Department, including Trump critic Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., instead recognizing that there are still many unanswered questions about why the search happened and what exactly was found.
The former president is presumed innocent,” former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie said in an interview. “On the other hand, we can’t immediately impugn the motives of the prosecutors just because they’re from another political party.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., called the FBI “tyrannical” in a tweet about the Mar-a-Lago search.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.