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Extremists Praise ‘Martyr’ Who Attacked FBI’s Cincinnati Office, Declare ‘War’ on FBI ‘Has Begun’

Some users on 4chan declared that the Cincinnati attack was a false flag operation while others praised the assailant and urged violence against FBI agents.

An attack on an FBI field office today prompted some users in an online forum popular among extremists to declare that it was a sign of the accelerationist “Boogaloo,” stating that “war” against the FBI has begun and the Bureau is “asking for another Oklahoma City bombing,” and even advocating that future attacks mimic the Beltway Snipers.

“On August 11, 2022, at approximately 9:15 EST, the FBI Cincinnati Field Office had an armed subject attempt to breach the Visitor Screening Facility (VSF),” the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office said in a statement today. “Upon the activation of an alarm and a response by armed FBI special agents, the subject fled northbound onto Interstate 71.”

The suspect, Ricky Walter Shiffer, 42, reportedly fired a nail gun when trying to enter the FBI office and was armed with an AR-15-style rifle. He then fled the scene driving a Ford Crown Victoria.

The FBI, Ohio State Highway Patrol, and local law enforcement partners engaged in an hours-long standoff with the suspect after he was cornered in a cornfield near Wilmington, Ohio.

Ohio State Police spokesman Lt. Nathan Dennis told reporters that attempts to negotiate with the suspect failed and Shiffer was fatally shot by officers after raising a gun. No officers were injured.

“Law enforcement has traded shots with a male suspect who is wearing a gray shirt and body armor,” Clinton County Emergency Management Agency posted on their Facebook page, announcing a lockdown in the area.

A post on Truth Social, the alternative to Twitter started by the media company of former President Trump, from the account @RickyWShifferJr said at 9:29 a.m. EST, “Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t. If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I., and it’ll mean either I was taken off the internet, the F.B.I. got me, or they sent the regular cops while.”

Shiffer was reportedly at the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. On Tuesday, the account posted, “People, this is it. I hope a call to arms comes from someone better qualified, but if not, this is your call to arms from me. Leave work tomorrow as soon as the gun shop/Army-Navy store/pawn shop opens, get whatever you need to be ready for combat. We must not tolerate this one. They have been conditioning us to accept tyranny and think we can’t do anything for 2 years. This time we must respond with force. If you know of any protests or attacks, please post here.”

Asked by another user if he was “proposing terrorism,” the Shiffer account replied, “No, I am proposing war… Kill theF.B.I. on sight, and be ready to take down other active enemies of the people and those who try to prevent you from doing it.”

The previous day, Monday, the Shiffer account posted, “It won’t matter if we don’t get violent. We see the courts are unfair and unconstitutional, all that is left is force.” That was the day the FBI served a search warrant at Trump’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, as part of its ongoing investigation into improper removal of presidential records.

Some users on 4chan declared that the Cincinnati attack was a false flag operation orchestrated by the FBI — “false flag in an attempt to balance the wrong doing of the FBI,” claimed one user — while others praised the assailant and urged violence against FBI agents.

The manifesto attributed to accused Buffalo mass shooter Payton Gendron says that he frequented 4chan and digested racist replacement theories “through infographics, shitposts, and memes,” adding that it was at 4chan’s /pol/ that he first saw a GIF of Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant’s attack. Gendron wrote that he felt “awakened” and decided he “would follow Tarrant’s lead and the attacks of so many others like him.”

“Once 3% of the population decides that this bullshit can’t continue, it’ll be over. details of what that looks like is tbd, could be violent, maybe not,” wrote one 4chan user today in response to the Cincinnati attack.

“What are the FBI going to do when millions of right wing terrorists start butchering them and their families?” another wrote. “Are they really sure this is a fight they want to pick?”

Others referenced the Boogaloo — an accelerationist movement with its roots on 4chan that seeks to hasten societal collapse, including through attacks on the government. “Day of the Boog incoming,” posted one 4chan user today. “Project mayhem is a go, the boogaloo is upon us,” added another.

“He’s a martyr in the eternal fight against the domestic enemies of this country,” one post declared.

Others used the incident to aim their own threats at the FBI. “Nobody cares about dead feds. Nobody,” read one post. “Looks like war against the Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun,” read another, while one user declared, “They’re just fucking asking for another Oklahoma City bombing at this point.”

One stated that they supported law enforcement while adding the “FBI is not law enforcement in my opinion,” and “I wouldn’t be too sad if this nutjob hit some of his targets.”

“It would be nice if people would actually begin using necessary violence against tyrants,” another user said. “It’s how the country was founded, it’s our duty.”

Another 4chan user referenced the 2002 D.C.-area sniper attacks as a guide. “Good for him,” the user said of Shiffer. “Next time research the setup used by the beltway sniper [n—–s].”

FBI Director Christopher Wray — who just last week told the Senate Judiciary Committee that anti-government extremism “has really surged” since 2020 — today issued a statement condemning attacks on agents.

“Unfounded attacks on the integrity of the FBI erode respect for the rule of law and are a grave disservice to the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect others. Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be deeply concerning to all Americans,” Wray said. “Every day I see the men and women of the FBI doing their jobs professionally and with rigor, objectivity, and a fierce commitment to our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution. I am proud to serve alongside them.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland defended FBI agents in a brief press conference today announcing that the Justice Department was moving to release the search warrant and property receipt in the Mar-a-Lago search.

“Let me address recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors. I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” Garland said. “The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants.”

“Every day, they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism, and other threats to their safety, while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves,” the attorney general added. “I am honored to work alongside them.”

15 Ways Social Media Fuels Violent Extremism

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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