The FBI has warned US lawmakers that online QAnon conspiracy theorists may carry out more acts of violence as they move from serving as ‘digital soldiers’ to taking action in the real world following the Capitol riots that took place on 6 January. In a memo obtained by CNN on Monday 14 June, the FBI warned that QAnon followers have begun to doubt the conspiracy theory’s mantra to “trust the plan” and could, instead, start taking a more proactive stance against those they perceive as being involved in child sacrifice and satanism.
When you feel like you can’t trust the mysterious Q’s plan anymore, what do you do? No, you don’t abandon this ridiculous conspiracy theory, you take the matter into your own hands—you become Q yourself. And that kind of illogical thinking, according to the FBI’s assessment, might lead followers to seek to harm “perceived members of the ‘cabal’ such as Democrats and other political opposition, instead of continually awaiting Q’s promised actions which have not occurred.”
“Other QAnon adherents likely will disengage from the movement or reduce their involvement in the wake of the administration change,” it adds. “We gave it our all,” Ron Watkins, who ran a major QAnon message board, wrote shortly after Biden was sworn in. “Now we need to keep our chins up and go back to our lives as best we are able.”
So far—or at least until 6 January—QAnon was mostly known as a virtual cult, due to its far-right conspiracy theories that were spread online. Although it is founded on the promise that Q will be the one to help former President Donald Trump in his battle against a shadowy cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles made up of prominent Democratic politicians and liberal celebrities, in the end, it really isn’t based on real-life action. Again, until now.
Titled Adherence to QAnon Conspiracy Theory by Some Domestic Violent Extremists, the public FBI threat assessment was provided at the request of Democratic New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, who earlier this year revealed that the FBI had provided lawmakers with versions of the document in February that was designated “for official use only.”
“The participation of some domestic violent extremists (DVE) who are also self-identified QAnon adherents in the violent siege of the US Capitol on 6 January underscores how the current environment likely will continue to act as a catalyst for some to begin accepting the legitimacy of violent action,” the unclassified FBI assessment says.
In other words, for the ones who are yet to give up on the whole conspiracy theory, what happened during the Capitol riots has only further reassured them that violence is the way to go. “I think these people have given up too much and sacrificed too much in their families and in their personal lives,” QAnon researcher and author Mike Rothschild told the Associated Press shortly after Biden assumed office. “They have believed this so completely that to simply walk away from it is just not in the realm of reality for most of these people.”
Good luck with that, Biden.