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Ex-secret service agent says Trump’s brand of tweets ignited real-world violence

By Jake Beardslee · July 6, 2023

Ex-secret service agent says Trump's brand of tweets ignited real-world violence  

Jonathan Wackrow, a former Secret Service Agent, has issued a stark warning about the real world consequences of online posts by prominent public officials. In a recent interview with Anderson Cooper, Wackrow expressed deep concern over the potential misinterpretation of such messages and their capacity to incite harm or physical action against individuals or groups associated with them. He emphasized the urgent need to address the severe repercussions that these posts can have, both for the protection of former presidents by the Secret Service and the broader responsibility of law enforcement in ensuring public safety.

Wackrow drew attention to the dangerous nature of online posts made by public officials, specifically referencing former President Trump. Wackrow stated, “These statements that are made, these postings, they go beyond social norms. They actually have a consequence. We know that these messages have a consequence not just from the actions of January 6th, but in this case as well…we have an individual who feels empowered to act and engage in some sort of conspiracy theory action because he feels supported by online postings. He thinks that, you know, that he’s being directed or inspired by either the former president or proxies. That is so dangerous, not only for the Secret Service in the protection of the former presidents, but for law enforcement broadly in protection of all public.”

Highlighting the relevance of online platforms in tracking potential threats, Wackrow provided insight into a recent incident involving Taylor Taranto, 37, who had participated in the January 6th riot. Taranto posted his activities on social media, even challenging law enforcement agencies. Wackrow explained, “Here you see a system that really worked because FBI Washington field office is detecting his live streaming from Washington. The Capitol police put out a be on the lookout for. And, you know, they’ve got his picture and information on his vehicle. The Secret Service uniform division actually spots him and brings agents into the area.”

The former Secret Service Agent further underlined the alarming plans of the suspect, stating, “Here’s a guy who was talking about having a self-driving vehicle that he was going to load with explosives and crash into the building in Gaithersburg, Maryland, before he kind of self-directed to the Obamas. Could he have done that? There was fuel in the vehicle, gasoline. There were rags and bottles. It’s the kind of thing you’d make Molotov cocktails from.”

In terms of the former president’s behavior, Wackrow noted, “I think the version that, yes, you are seeing an angrier version of Trump… A lot of this is very authentic him, but I think this is his most authentic version.”

This case serves as a grave reminder of the potential hazards that can arise from the online activities and rhetoric of public officials. It calls for increased vigilance from law enforcement agencies in monitoring and addressing potential threats originating from online platforms. Moreover, it prompts reflection on the responsibilities and consequences associated with the social media usage of influential public figures.

Light Wave commentary

This news story sheds light on the alarming impact of online posts by prominent public officials, with a particular focus on former President Trump. Jonathan Wackrow’s insights emphasize the real-world consequences of such posts and the dangers they pose to public safety. The incident discussed serves as a reminder of the crucial role played by law enforcement agencies in monitoring and responding to potential threats arising from online activities. It also raises important questions about the responsible use of social media platforms by public figures and the need for balanced and accountable communication. The article encourages a broader discussion on the potential risks of inflammatory rhetoric in the digital age and the measures necessary to ensure the safety and security of the public.