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'It's often lone wolves' | Former Assistant FBI Director explains the role of social threats on national security

Chris Swecker, former assistant FBI director, gives insight on the investigative process.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The bomb threat in Washington, D.C. that involved a Cleveland County man is raising some new concerns about national security. 

WCNC Charlotte spoke with Chris Swecker, a former assistant director of the FBI, for some insight on the investigative process unfolding at both at the Capitol and here in North Carolina.

Swecker said he's sure the main headquarters of the FBI and the Charlotte office are "scrambling like crazy." 

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"They're out in Cleveland County scouring, probably searching his home by now," Swecker explained, "looking for any clues any evidence of one explosive and anything dangerous any evidence of planned actions on his part, computer hard drives mobile devices, any type of social media, any type of electronic media, that shows his motivated that may show his motivation and intent."

Swecker says the electronic sweeps include looking at his social media accounts and connections. Part of that includes looking at who or what may have spurred him to make the threat.

"They want to see why he did this why he was, and what his motivation was and whether he acted alone, or is this an isolated instance, or were there others that may or may not be involved in this," Swecker said.

Prior to the incident, the suspect, Floyd Roseberry, posted on Facebook saying that the "revolution" has begun. Some of those posts have since been taken down, but Swecker said he believes there is a social element to this.

RELATED: Cleveland County man claiming to have bomb outside Library of Congress surrenders to Capitol Police

"If you read the FBI's threat assessment for domestic violent extremists - which this person may fall into the because of social media - there has been a spike in this type of activity really on both sides of the extremist spectrum left and right," Swecker said. "t's often lone wolves that are specifically cited in the FBI threat assessment, people who are motivated by a certain ideology but that mixes in with their own personal issues, and we find often in these cases that someone has all kinds of personal crises, or in issues that are playing out, there's a trigger, and then they sort of tag on to some ideology to provide justification what they do."

With catastrophic events like the Olympic bombing in Atlanta in 1996, history is dotted with these kinds of incidents. So much so, that Swecker says the public tends to think that it's so much happening all at once. 

"You've seen a lot more activity itself, not just investigations, but real actions on the part of extremist on both ends of the political spectrum, but a lot of it is motivated on the internet or inspired on the internet and a lot of it is lone actor activity," Swecker said.

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