The FBI has warned that more QAnon conspiracy theorists may be driven to violence and even feel obligated to attack Democrats they believe to be members of a purported cabal of satanic child traffickers.
The predictions appear in an unclassified, two-page threat assessment on QAnon prepared by the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security‘s Office of Intelligence and Analysis that became public Monday.
The assessment, dated June 4, said the involvement of QAnon adherents in the storming of the U.S. Capitol “will continue to act as a catalyst for some to begin accepting the legitimacy of violent action.”
More specifically, some QAnon adherents may believe they “have an obligation to change from serving as ‘digital soldiers’ towards engaging in real world violence,” including harming Democrats, it noted.
QAnon originated in late 2017 and has mutated considerably since then. Its proponents subscribe to any of several groundless conspiracy theories, including the supposed existence of the satanic cabal.
A slew of Senate Democrats asked for the assessment in December. Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico said they received a response in February and had been pressing the FBI to provide details to the public.
“The Constitution protects the advocacy of all kinds of beliefs and views — even those that philosophically embrace violent tactics. But the public deserves to know how the government assesses the threat to our country from those who would act violently on such beliefs,” Mr. Heinrich, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement he shared along with the unclassified report.
More than 20 self-identifying QAnon adherents have been arrested for storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, the assessment noted.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said the assessment “further shows the urgent need” for an independent commission to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
Republicans previously blocked the creation of a commission to probe the Jan. 6 attack. The Department of Justice continues to investigate the riot and has charged over 500 people with related crimes.