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BlueLeaks: FBI extensively monitored Incels on Reddit and Tumblr

June 29, 2020

Leaked police documents show just how seriously the FBI took the threat of online incel-extremism. The FBI and other government agencies kept a close eye on incel-related forums, particularly on Tumblr and Reddit. The documents cite the reason as multiple examples of violence.

While the mainstream media has reported on the threat of incel groups, such as warning about potential Aurora theatre copycat shootings after the release of the Joker movie, these documents give further insight into the workings of law enforcement.

Documents from the Colorado Information Analysis Centre (CIAC), along with other fusion centres, were leaked in late June by Anonymous.

The Colorado Information Analysis Center serves as the focal point within the state for receiving, analyzing and sharing threat-related information among private sector, local, tribal, and federal partners


One document, dated November 2019, is a reference guide on violent extremism in Colorado. In between Islamic Extremists and Militia Extremist are Incels.

The report cites the Toronto van attack by Alek Minassian in 2018 as cause for concern. In that attack, Alek killed 10 random people, and injured 16 others. When interviewed by police, he claimed that he subscribed to incel ideology.

It gives a few other examples of incel attacks, such as a man charged in Denver with saying via Facebook he was going to kill “as many girls as I see”.

The next document by the CIAC, describes the similarities between incels and other violent extremist groups.

Their online nature and “lone wolf” attacks, make them difficult to track and identify. Some Incels reportedly prefer attacks that include vehicles, acid attacks, food poisoning, and mass sexual assaults. In recent years the Incel community has shown increasing similarities to violent extremist groups.


Interestingly, this report talks about the terminology Incels use, and links to a channel on Reddit titled Incel Tears. It appears this channel is now defunct. However, this report shows that US law enforcement was actively monitoring Reddit to catch, as well as understand, incel extremists.

Next is an FBI Intelligence Bulletin from May 2019. This report shows that the FBI was monitoring Incel forums on Reddit, and assessing threats made by anonymous users. The report highlights some of the challenges agents face, and talks about the use of undercover agents to catch extremists.

The FBI warns that the public attention surrounding incels turned killers like Elliot Rodgers and Alek Minassian may inspire others to do the same. It also warns that forums like those on Reddit may indirectly lead to real life violence.

A third report leaked from the CIAC dated July 2019 talks about the True Crime Community (TCC) on Tumblr. This forum was used by people planning attacks in Halifax, Nova Scotia and in Ohio.

The report warns of a group called the “Holmies”, which idolize James Holmes - the Aurora Theatre Shooter. It also points out how some incels idolize the Joker character, specifically the one from the recent movie.

The last report is one by the American Association of Railroads (AAR) - a trade association - that provides intelligence; sometimes used by law enforcement. In a report dated February 2020, the AAR refers to the online incel community as the “manosphere”. It too cites the attacks by Alek and Elliot as cause for concern.

Interestingly, the report talks about a large compository kept by researchers that are studying the incel movement. This proves that not only are law enforcement agencies keeping tabs on incels, trade unions and researchers are as well.

The report draws a link between the “alt-right” and incels, and says the violence seen in the alt-right is bound to spread to the incel population. It also warns about the shift from supportive online chats, to groups pushing for violent extremism.

Given the extreme nature of certain incels, it should come as no surprise the FBI and other agencies are actively monitoring their online activity. But it is also a slippery slope. What constitutes an Incel and how many non-Incels have been inadvertently monitored by the FBI? This is not immediately clear.

The reports further suggest a pattern of US law enforcement keeping close watch on groups they find extreme or dangerous.

This is likely just the tip of the iceberg on the data law enforcement has on incels, and other extreme groups.

A good reminder for non-extreme groups to moderate extremist content posted in their forums, lest they be monitored by the FBI and / or private sector snoops.

Article by: Mark Slapinski

Disclaimer: Access to these files is for educational purposes only. These files were originally made public by Anonymous at and have since been publicly distributed on every social media channel including Reddit and Twitter by users worldwide.

  1. Violent Extremism in Colorado - Colorado Department of Public Safety
    November 2019
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  2. Colorado Information Analysis Center, Situational Awareness Bulletin
    May 14 2019
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  3. FBI - Intelligence Bulletin, Dallas / Los Angeles Field Office
    May 31 2019
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  4. Colorado Information Analysis Center, Situational Awareness Bulletin
    July 18, 2019
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  5. Association of American Railroads, RADAR
    Feb 21 2020
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