FBI chief says U.S. ‘Antifa’ protesters are targets of multiple probes

Related

By Mark Hosenball and Sarah N. Lynch

The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation told Congress on Thursday that anarchist and extremist “Antifa” protesters who engaged in recent violent protests are targets of serious FBI investigations.

At a hearing of the Republican-led Senate Homeland Security committee, Christopher Wray said that the Bureau had seen “organized tactical activity at both the local and regional level.”

“We have seen Antifa adherence coalescing and working together in what I would describe as small groups and nodes,” he said. Wray added that the bureau is conducting multiple investigations “into some anarchist violent extremists, some of whom operate through these nodes.”

Antifa, short for anti-fascist, is an amorphous movement “who believe in active, aggressive opposition to far right-wing movements,” according to the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks extremists.

Wray stressed that while there are active probes into Antifa and other extremist groups, these organizations numerically are much smaller in number. He said that peaceful protesters, as well as criminal opportunists, who engaged in low-level vandalism and looting outnumber organized extremist groups.

In testimony before a Democratic-led House Homeland Security hearing last week, Wray told lawmakers that the largest “chunk” of the FBI’s investigations involve white supremacist groups.

Acting DHS deputy secretary Kenneth Cuccinelli, who earlier this summer had strongly emphasized the role of anarchists in urban protests, at Thursday’s hearing acknowledged there was evidence that white supremacists carried out the most lethal incidents in recent years.

He said that DHS has acknowledge for some time that “white supremacists act as terrorists, more people are killed. That is a higher lethality.” During Thursday’s hearing, Wray only briefly referred to the involvement of “militia types” in recent disorders.

President Donald Trump and his allies have sought to blame what they calls left-wing extremists for violence and looting at U.S. protests over police brutality, while local authorities and watchdog groups have often pointed to the threat posed by right-wing movements.

Wray said that the FBI had asked the Joint Terrorism Task Forces it operates in partnership with local police agencies “to make sure they are focusing on domestic terrorism” in addition to the international terrorism probes they historically focused on.

He said the FBI recently had “elevated racially-motivated violent extremism” to an investigative priority equal to its focus on Islamic State and other foreign terrorist threats.

(Reporting By Mark Hosenball and Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Timothy Gardner)

- Advertisement -
SourceReuters

Add your comment(s)

 

Latest

Doctors probe whether COVID-19 is causing diabetes

By Chad Terhune Mario Buelna, a healthy 28-year-old father, caught a fever and started having trouble breathing in June. He soon tested positive for COVID-19. Weeks...

China warns U.S. it may detain Americans over prosecutions

The Chinese government has warned Washington it may detain Americans in China in response to the Justice Department's prosecution of Chinese military-affiliated scholars, the...

Europe weighs risk of a disputed result as U.S. election looms

By Robin Emmott, Andreas Rinke and Luke Baker With less than three weeks until the U.S. presidential election, European capitals are concerned about the risk...

U.S. judge strikes down USDA rule on food benefits during pandemic

By Bhargav Acharya A U.S. federal judge has struck down a Trump administration rule that would have cut food stamp benefits to almost 700,000 unemployed...

Study suggests, ICUs without air-conditioning could shield doctors from COVID-19

By Anuron Kumar Mitra Intensive care units (ICUs) at hospitals treating COVID-19 patients should do away with air-conditioning to limit the risk of infecting doctors,...

Trending