The FBI charged an active-duty soldier Tuesday with cyberstalking judges and other public officials in Clarksville, Tenn., after he allegedly made death threats over Facebook and Instagram.
According to the FBI’s criminal complaint, Cassidy Busbin, stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., posted a link to a news article about the murder of Maryland Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson, who was shot in his driveway in Hagerstown, Md last month. In addition to the article, Busbin’s Oct. 26 post also featured a comment that read, “this is whats [sic] going to happen in clarksville [sic] if they keep fucking down soldiers especially to the judges and lawyers we are protesting.”
Since 2021, Busbin has used social media to voice his frustrations with 10 local judges, law enforcement officers and attorneys, according to the complaint, made public Wednesday morning and first reported on by Court Watch. Two of the judges told the FBI they feared for their lives after Busbin’s Oct. 26 post.
One judge alleged that she “felt that if she continued to do her job, she may suffer the same fate as the Maryland judge,” the complaint reads. Another judge said he “has never experienced anything like this because of something that transpired in his courtroom.”
Busbin’s anger reportedly stemmed from divorce and custody hearings in 2021, according to the complaint. He recently posted on social media about a fathers’ rights protest planned for Nov. 17 at the local courthouse, where protestors would be armed. “Fathers’ rights” refers to a movement that lobbies for greater paternal privileges in family law.
In addition to the threats against public officials, Busbin was accused of threatening a battalion commander assigned to Fort Campbell. Busbin’s brother is also a soldier stationed at the installation, the complaint states. According to the complaint, he messaged his brother’s battalion commander Oct. 26, accusing him of being in violation of the U.S. Constitution. A second message to the commander read, “tell your wife i [sic] said hey btw.” At the time, the commander was deployed abroad while his wife was living near Fort Campbell.
Busbin was also arrested on an unrelated charge Oct. 27 and underwent a mental health evaluation over concerns that he was threatening judges. The evaluator determined that Busbin posed an imminent threat of harm or death to others. He was admitted to an on-base hospital, the complaint states.
Busbin was released Nov. 1, and his chain of command restricted him to the installation for one week. That hold was expected to lift Thursday.
In a statement Wednesday, Lt. Col. Tony Hoefler, a spokesperson for Fort Campbell, said the installation was working with law enforcement in the investigation. The Army confirmed Busbin was stationed at Fort Campbell but did not provide additional details about his service.
The case comes amid a rise in threats against judges and other public officials across the United States. A report by the National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education Center in August found 74 cases in 2022 in which federal authorities investigated threats against public officials – the most of any year over the past decade.
Of the 500 federally investigated threats since 2013, about 42% were made against judges and law enforcement officers. Another 42% were made against elected officials, while many of the other threats were made against educators and health care workers. Nearly 80% of the cases resulted in conviction.
Pete Simi, one of the report’s authors and a Chapman University professor who studies extremist groups, told Military Times that the increase in threats was likely due to a loss of confidence in the country’s social institutions — including the criminal justice system — as well as the rise in social media use and increased support for using violence to achieve political goals.
“I think the strategy of using threats to express grievances and target public officials seems to be becoming somewhat normalized,” Simi said. “Obviously, that is very troubling.”
Nikki Wentling covers disinformation and extremism for Military Times. She's reported on veterans and military communities for eight years and has also covered technology, politics, health care and crime. Her work has earned multiple honors from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the Arkansas Associated Press Managing Editors and others.