Garland Concerned by Increase in Threats Against Public Servants

( – Attacks against public officials are nothing new, with the infamous example of John Hinckley shooting President Ronald Reagan. However, it is reported that data collected in recent years show a dramatic spike in threats and attacks aimed at politicians and election officials/workers.

Warnings From on High

On January 5, Attorney General (AG) Merrick Garland addressed a meeting of the heads of many of the law enforcement agencies that fall under the umbrella of the Justice Department, including “the FBI, ATF, DEA, and U.S. Marshals.” The first part of his remarks addressed the successful response seen against the dramatic rise in violent crime, notwithstanding the drop in the overall murder rate between 2021 and September 2023.

Garland touted successes made using the “Bipartisan (so-called, at least) Safer Communities Act of 2022 (BSCA).” In particular, he highlighted what they had accomplished under the measure’s gun control provisions.

As an interesting side note, the original bill was introduced by the two Republican Senators from Florida, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, and yet both men voted against the final measure after amendments were added by their Democrat colleagues.

The AG noted law enforcement’s successful arrests of people who had made “violent threats” against presidential candidates, a justice of the Supreme Court, and election workers in the closing months of 2023. He also mentioned incidents concerning “members of Congress,” which was a possible allusion to a story that broke during the first week of 2024.

California Honey Trap

Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) made headlines in December 2020 when his relationship with a suspected female agent of China’s Ministry of State Security by the name of Fang (a.k.a. Christine) Fang was revealed. She was described by some as a modern-day Mata Hari who used sex to influence at least a few local politicians, but it must be noted that the California representative has never been officially accused of any wrongdoing (including extramarital affairs) during his acquaintance with her.

However, the incident provides context to the threats that were allegedly made against Swalwell and his adult son by 72-year-old Michael Shapiro of Florida. According to the affidavit by United States Capitol Police (USCP) officer Luke Herrmann in the criminal complaint, there was a series of five messages left on the Congressman’s voicemail.

According to the transcript of those alleged messages in the court document, “Fang Fang” was repeated numerous times and accused Swalwell of being a “Chinese spy” whom the caller was going to kill along with their children.

According to a different set of court filings from 2019, Shapiro pled guilty to making several calls to the USCP Threat Assessment Section and repeatedly said, “I’m going to kill you, in general, and named an agent who was investigating him in specific.

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