Where the force generating those threats is a widespread, self-sustaining, and virulent social movement?
We still had the best violent soccer hooligans and most virulent nationalist tabloid headlines.
But if the Hagel hearings had exposed a virulent strain of American McCarthyism, who would play the role of McCarthy?
c.1400, in reference to wounds, ulcers, etc., "full of corrupt or poisonous matter," from Latin virulentus "poisonous," from virus "poison" (see virus). Figurative sense of "violent, spiteful" is attested from c.1600. Related: Virulently.
virulent vir·u·lent (vēr'yə-lənt, vēr'ə-)
Extremely infectious, malignant, or poisonous. Used of a disease or toxin.
Capable of causing disease by breaking down protective mechanisms of the host. Used of a pathogen.
Intensely irritating, obnoxious, or harsh.