Saturday, the FBI put out a national alert for Ryan Kelly Chamberlain, a former consultant on political campaigns for both Republicans and Democrats, and a University of San Francisco instructor of a “Grass Roots Mobilization” course for post-grads. Initially, rumors of ricin production arose, but the FBI threw a dash of cold water on those reports. A raid on Chamberlain’s home may have produced explosives, and the fugitive is considered armed and dangerous as long as he’s on the run:
The FBI has issued a nationwide alert to law enforcement agencies about a San Francisco social media consultant they consider armed and dangerous who is wanted on suspicion of possessing explosives.
FBI spokesman Peter Lee said Sunday that 42-year-old Ryan Kelly Chamberlain, II, was last seen in a dark blue, hooded sweatshirt and jeans.
Multiple agencies, including hazardous materials crews, searched Chamberlain’s apartment in San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood on Saturday, blocking off the street to vehicle and pedestrian traffic for much of the day.
Readers have to dive to the end of the CBS/AP article to find this information:
Chamberlain had worked for years as a political consultant on Democratic campaigns, Bramblett said.
He also worked as an independent contractor for The San Francisco Chronicle during the 2012 NFL season, doing social media to boost coverage for the San Francisco 49ers Insider iPad app, the newspaper said.
A spokeswoman for the University of San Francisco said Chamberlain taught a “Grass Roots Mobilization” course to graduate students in the Public Affairs program in 2011. Anne-Marie Devine said Chamberlain taught for one semester, and wasn’t invited to teach another course. She said she didn’t know why, because hundreds of adjunct professors come and go at the university.
However, KTVU in Oakland also interviewed a Republican Party figure who noted that Chamberlain did work for the GOP before “switching sides,” and did his last work on Gavin Newsom’s campaign:
That doesn’t sound like the profile of a really far-left political activist. It sounds more like the profile of a political realist in California, and someone who knew where the money would be in consultancies for political campaigns.
The FBI made a statement about this yesterday, and conducted a brief press conference afterward:
His friends are shocked, saying they never considered him violent or dangerous, although one person remarked that Chamberlain seemed petty and immature about not getting his way. This story is a long way from being over, but I’d be careful about shoehorning it into a partisan framework, at least for the moment.