Prosecutors and FBI agents involved in the Hunter Biden investigation have been targets of threats and harassment from people who feel they haven’t been tough enough on the president’s son, according to government officials and congressional testimony obtained exclusively from NBC News.
It’s part of a dramatic increase in threats against FBI agents that has coincided with attacks on the FBI and the Justice Department by congressional Republicans and former President Donald Trump, who have accused both agencies of participating to a conspiracy to subvert justice amid two federal charges by Briscola.
According to an unpublished transcript of congressional testimony, the threats prompted the FBI to create an autonomous unit to investigate and mitigate them.
“We created an entire counter-threat unit to address the threats that FBI employee facilities are receiving,” Jennifer L. Moore, then the FBI’s deputy executive director of human resources, told the House Judiciary Committee in June . “It’s unprecedented. It’s a number we’ve never had before.”
“It will be about 10 people when it’s done,” he said. “We’re still trying to staff it right now. But their only daily mission is to threaten FBI employees at the facilities.”
Moore told lawmakers that threats to FBI agents and facilities have more than doubled — there were more in the six months from October to March than in the previous 12 months. No more recent data was available; officials say the pace of threats increased after the FBI’s investigation into Trump became public last summer and has not slowed since.
The FBI declined to comment.
Natalie Bara, president of the FBI Agents Association, a nonprofit group that advocates for current and retired agents, said in a statement: “FBI special agents and their families should never be threatened with violence, even when they do their jobs. This is not a partisan or political issue. Calls for violence against law enforcement are unacceptable and should be condemned by all leaders.”
Federal prosecutor Lesley Wolf, who had been part of U.S. Attorney David Weiss’ team investigating Hunter Biden, received such a barrage of credible threats that she sought security help from the U.S. Marshals Service, according to unpublished testimony from an FBI official in the House. Justice Commission last week. Two IRS agents involved in the case accused Wolf of making decisions that appeared favorable to Biden. A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment.
Special prosecutor Jack Smith and his team have long been protected by an armed security team, as has Robert Hur, the special prosecutor tasked with investigating classified documents found at President Joe Biden’s home and office.
An intelligence bulletin last year said the FBI was investigating an unprecedented number of threats against officers and facilities following the August 2022 search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound in Palm Beach, La. Florida. Just days after the search, a man who was present at the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot was shot and killed after attempting to breach the FBI field office in Cincinnati while wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a rifle.
The FBI told aides to the House Judiciary Committee that Laura Dehmlow, who headed the FBI’s foreign influence task force and has been accused by congressional Republicans of suppressing social media and news coverage of the laptop by Hunter Biden, was the target of multiple threats after her name was linked to the Biden story, according to two congressional officials.
A source familiar with the matter said some FBI personnel have been victims of “swatting,” in which someone files a false report that leads armed police to rush into a home.
Last week, an FBI agent involved in the Hunter Biden investigation told the House Judiciary Committee that the threats extended to the agents’ family members.
“Things toward their families have absolutely escalated,” Thomas Sobocinski, an FBI agent involved in the investigation, said in a transcribed interview that was widely circulated. “[T]The feeling of the employees and above all of their families is that yes, they feel threatened.”
In response, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Sobocinski that the committee’s lawyer, Bruce Castor, “had to deal with the same type of thing” when he defended Trump in the impeachment proceedings.
“There is no place for these types of threats and things like that,” Jordan said.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com