The News Today
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9.20.19
Political Violence

FBI: Conspiracy Theorists Are a Domestic Terrorism Threat

August 2nd 19__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Future Society
Shutterstock/Victor Tangermann

Cracking Down

The FBI has determined that conspiracy theorists pose a serious domestic terrorism threat.

That’s according to documentation reviewed by Yahoo News and which has since been published online. The May 2019 documents, which specifically refer to QAnon and Pizzagate conspiracies, show that federal law enforcement is paying close attention to politically-motivated acts of violence.

Emerging Threat

Violence inspired by these conspiracy theories would fall under an existing category of “anti-government” domestic terrorism already monitored by the FBI, but the newly-publicized documents mark the first time that the FBI has examined conspiracy theories in the context of terrorism.

“This is the first FBI product examining the threat from conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists and provides a baseline for future intelligence products,” they read.

Preparations

The FBI sent a comment to Yahoo News clarifying that the document was meant to inform other law enforcement agencies about possible threats that could emerge and grow in the near future. Yahoo News reports that both the QAnon and Pizzagate conspiracies have already inspired violent acts.

“While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, the FBI routinely shares information with our law enforcement partners in order to assist in protecting the communities they serve,” the FBI told Yahoo News. It wrote that the FBI can “never initiate an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity. As with all of our investigations, the FBI can never monitor a website or a social media platform without probable cause.”

READ MORE: Exclusive: FBI document warns conspiracy theories are a new domestic terrorism threat [Yahoo News]

More on conspiracies: In Science, There Are No “Alternative Facts”