IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

National Archives latest institution to face ‘a wave of threats’

Last year, intimidation campaigns targeted local election, health and education officials. This year, it's the FBI, the IRS and the National Archives.


Throughout much of 2021, there were too many unsettling intimidation campaigns, largely from the far-right, targeting groups of Americans who didn’t deserve the mistreatment. As we’ve discussed, from election officials to public health officials, school board members to flight attendants, it was a difficult period filled with threats, confrontations and fear.

This year, the intimidation efforts appear to be metastasizing. The Washington Post reported over the weekend, for example, on the “wave of threats” against the National Archives.

In the nearly three weeks since the FBI searched former president Donald Trump’s Florida home to recover classified documents, the National Archives and Records Administration has become the target of a rash of threats and vitriol, according to people familiar with the situation. Civil servants tasked by law with preserving and securing the U.S. government’s records were rattled.

Though the article did not go into specifics on the nature of the threats, the Post spoke to 14 current and former Archives employees, and described the agency as being “under siege by a former president and his supporters.”

The article added that Trump’s recent actions “have whipped his followers into a fervor against the Archives.”

NARA has plenty of company. As Republicans launch a brazenly dishonest campaign against the IRS, the Washington Post reported last week that the tax agency is also responding to “right-wing threats.”

The Internal Revenue Service will launch a full security review of its facilities nationwide, Commissioner Charles Rettig announced Tuesday, as congressional Republicans and far-right extremists are lashing out at the agency and the new funding it is slated to receive in a massive spending law.

The reporting added that the IRS will conduct risk assessments at all of its facilities and “evaluate whether to increase security patrols along building exteriors, boost designations for restricted areas, examine security around entrances and assess exterior lighting.”

It will be the first such security review since 1995 — in the wake of the domestic terror attack in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people.

Meanwhile, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have raised the alarm about a spike in threats to federal law enforcement officials, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart has faced a storm of death threats since approving the Mar-a-Lago search warrant.

The next time we hear Trump and his supports applaud the principle of “law and order,” keep this pattern of threats in mind.