- A former FBI and CIA official predicted there could be another “catastrophic event” like January 6.
- Phil Mudd said threats against law enforcement resemble the period leading up to the Capitol attack.
- Threats have escalated as Republicans lash out against the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago.
A former official who served in the FBI and CIA said the fallout from the Mar-a-Lago raid resembles the events that led up to the January 6 attack on the Capitol — and predicted there could be another “catastrophic event.”
Phil Mudd, now a CNN counterterrorism analyst, previously worked for the CIA as an analyst specializing in South Asia and the Middle East. He later served as the first-ever deputy directer of the FBI’s National Security Branch.
Mudd appeared on CNN Sunday to discuss the aftermath of the unprecedented FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s residence. Federal officials said violent threats to law enforcement spiked after the raid. Some Republican lawmakers, including Trump, have railed against the FBI and baselessly suggested the agency could target regular citizens next.
“When I followed extremists overseas, I never anticipated we would see this in America. We are,” Mudd said during an interview with CNN’s Jim Acosta, adding that extremists here are similar to the ones he monitored.
“They require leadership to tell them that what they’re thinking is okay. And they require validation from that leadership to suggest to them that violence is okay,” he said.
Mudd pointed to Trump’s comments this week that referred to the investigation surrounding the search as a hoax and suggested without evidence that the FBI may have planted materials at Mar-a-Lago.
“The same thing that happened before January 6 is happening today,” he continued, in an apparent reference to the rhetoric and false claims Trump made about the 2020 election prior to the insurrection.
He also pointed out the armed Trump supporters that protested in front of an FBI office in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday.
“People with AR-15s and camo are going to say: ‘I’m going to do something about it.’ That’s dangerous. I think we’re going to see another catastrophic event,” Mudd said.
There has already been violence that appears to be connected to the raid. On Thursday, an armed man wearing body armor attacked an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was shot and killed at the scene after an hours-long standoff with police. The man was also believed to have been at the Capitol on January 6, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.
The FBI recovered boxes of documents, including 11 sets of classified material, from Mar-a-Lago during the search, according to court documents unsealed Friday. The Justice Department is investigating possible violations of three laws related to the handling of government documents, including the Espionage Act.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and said that he declassified all the documents, though he has not publicly provided documentation of that. Presidential documents, classified or not, are public property and by law are managed by the National Archives.