An FBI bulletin from the agency’s Phoenix, Arizona, field office detailed back in May how “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” have become a growing threat in the United States.
The bulletin noted that it’s the first document from the FBI which lists conspiracy theories as a potential means of producing violence in the country.
Conspiracy theories tend to motivate individuals with fringe beliefs to take criminal and sometimes terroristic action, the FBI noted, and pointed out to several incidents of arrests. Some of the arrests based on these types of incidents haven’t been publicized yet, it added.
“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the bulletin read, according to reporting from AOL.com.
The FBI has identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorist threat that could drive extremists "to carry out criminal or violent acts." The document specifically mentions QAnon and Pizzagate.(Pizzagate has already had that effect…) https://t.co/ThDPtBV8nW
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) August 1, 2019
The document detailed some examples of violence being driven by such extremist but dubious ideas, including the QAnon theory, which asserts that a deep-state conspiracy against President Donald Trump exists within the federal government. It also spoke about the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which alleged Hillary Clinton and her associates ran a child sex trafficking ring in the basement of a D.C. based pizza restaurant.
The latter conspiracy theory resulted in a man driving hundreds of miles and shooting his gun off inside the Comet Ping Pong restaurant, which doesn’t have a basement.
The FBI also announced in May in a separate statement that domestic terrorism cases have been on the rise in recent months, according to reporting from CNN.
Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray also spoke about the rise in domestic terror. Much of the rise in attacks, he noted, have been stemming from white supremacy movements, reported Upworthy.