▶ Watch Video: Federal authorities face rising online threats after Mar-a-Lago search

Since FBI agents executed a search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida last month, credible online threats targeting federal authorities have surged.

“We’re seeing a major uptick in threats,” a cyber threat investigator named Simon, who asked CBS News not to use his last name for security purposes, told CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge. “Any public figure is a viable target for these people, and it knows no political affiliation.”

U.S. Marshals say the number of online threats targeting authorities had already been consistently rising since last year, when they saw 4,500 reported threats against federal judges. And according to law enforcement, the January 6 Capitol riot in 2021 and the Supreme Court decision on abortion rights this year have also contributed to nationwide tensions. 

Simon said he believes the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago for sensitive government documents was a tipping point. 

“There’s a very real risk of law enforcement officers being hurt or killed as a result of these threats,” he said. 

He and his team at the Washington-based research group Memri produced a 90-page report tracking the online threats. Some of the threats refer to the FBI as scum, say officials will die for treason, and express the need for agencies to be “cleansed” and “eliminated.”

“We’re seeing threats like this on a daily or hourly basis,” Simon said. 

Within days of the Mar-a-Lago search, 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer attempted to breach the FBI field office in Cincinnati, Ohio, wearing body armor and carrying an AR-15 style rifle, before being killed following an hours-long standoff with police.

Simon says the attempted breach could be a new normal. “I think it’s moving in that direction,” he said. 

Roberto Robinson, director of the U.S. Marshals Service, whose team protects more than 2,700 federal judges, said threats against the judge who signed off on the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search were “almost immediate” once his identity was revealed. 

He said Judge Bruce Reinhart’s address was posted online — a tactic called doxxing. 

“Threats are real,” Robinson told Herridge. “People really have intent to harm folks and they will carry it out.”

He said his team is “doing the best we can with what we have now” to protect federal judges.

But he added, “We are pretty thin right now. We are trying to get academy classes through so we can bring on more deputy marshals. But we could definitely use more help, for sure.”

Congress considered increasing funding to pay for more deputy marshals after the son of federal Judge Esther Salas was murdered at her New Jersey home in July of 2020, but the bill has not passed.