Before they took to attacking CNN reporters, a group of alt-right trolls decided to take down an assistant to one of President Donald Trump's reportedly least-favorite national security advisers, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster.
According to Foreign Policy, alt-right blogger and former self-help author Mike Cernovich set his sights on Eric Ciaramella, McMaster's assistant, and claimed (without evidence) that the staffer is "pro-Ukraine and anti-Russia" and the mastermind behind national security leaks. The information Cernovich provided on him at times included the minutia of his lunches and who he was meeting with, and would "often cite information that appears to be provided by unnamed White House officials or Trump loyalists."
In response, alt-righters began issuing violent threats against Ciaramella -- and, according to sources close to the situation, caused him to leave his post weeks before his planned departure back to the intelligence agency he worked on before joining the NSC during President Barack Obama's tenure.
In his initial attack on Ciaramella, Cernovich claimed that his newfound foe's "entire life arc indicates he will sabotage Trump and leak information to the press whenever possible," and that "nothing in his resume indicates that Ciaramella will put America First." He went on to issue an "unproven" allegation that "some suspect" the former NSC staffer was the source of leaked intel about a White House meeting between Trump and the Russian ambassador.
The reasoning behind the attacks varies from the alt-right's general disdain for McMaster to their apparent desire to control the goings-on in the White House, especially in a way that favors Trump adviser and former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon.
The Foreign Policy report suggests that Cernovich's attack on Ciaramella isn't the only alt-right attack on civil servants. Breitbart and the Conservative Review have both gone on rampages against "Obama holdovers," or staffers who remained in the White House and other agencies from the last administration to the current one.
After successfully getting Ciaramella off the NSC, Cernovich has now reportedly turned his attention to NSC Deputy Executive Secretary Megan Badasch, whom he's accused of similar "crimes" as Ciaramella.