Retired FBI agent Tom O'Connor, a domestic extremist group specialist for 23 years, tells Deadline TV that he's concerned about the number of people accused of plotting to kidnap and kill Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whimter.
Normally, cases like this might involve one or two people, like the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. On Thursday, federal and state authorities charged 13 people in the case involving the Democratic governor.
"There wasn't the one-off lone offender who separated from a First Amendment activity. This is a number of people who plotted to do something extremely serious."
"The potential for violence as we move forward towards the election in this completely partisan environment we're living in right now is higher than I've seen it in my 35 years in law enforcement, 23 years working domestic extremism for the FBI," says O'Connor, who worked in the FBI's Washington Field Office.
Connor left the bureau in September 2019 and now heads FEDSquaredConsulting, which trains people in government and the private sector about counterterrorism and extremist groups.