FBI says California extremist may have targeted Newsom
Federal prosecutors in California said on Wednesday that a man found with pipe bombs and ammunition may have been targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the offices of Facebook and Twitter in the wake of the social media platforms banning the accounts of former President Trump.
Prosecutors said Ian Benjamin Rogers was charged on Tuesday after he was found with five pipe bombs and other guns after authorities searched his business on Jan. 15. He had 49 guns along with thousands of rounds of ammunition, according to the criminal complaint.
Rogers claimed the pipe bombs were only for entertainment purposes and were not intended to be used against anyone.
But messages were found on Rogers’s phone that showed possible threats against social media groups Twitter and Facebook, along with threats against Newsom, authorities said.
“We can attack Twitter or the democrats you pick” and “we can attack Twitter and democrats easy right now burn they’re shit down,” Rogers allegedly said to a friend. He claimed that “sac office” would be the first target, a reference presumed to be toward Newsom’s office in Sacramento.
A spokeswoman for Newsom told the Los Angeles Times that the governor is aware of the arrest and is working with authorities in the investigation.
Rogers is now facing charges of unlawful possession of unregistered destructive devices. The charges carry a sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Rogers also reportedly had a “Three-Percenters” sticker on his vehicle, a pro-gun and anti-government group. A “White Privilege Card” for Rogers was also found by authorities.
“I know that many extreme anti-government militias are populated by white supremacists,” Stephanie Minor, a special agent of the FBI, said in the complaint.
Minor wrote in the complaint that the FBI believed Rogers was also targeting the offices of Facebook and Twitter because both social media platforms had permanently suspended Trump’s accounts in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
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