FBI Director Weighs In on Antifa

Chris Wray testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 17, 2020 7:00 PM CDT
FBI Director Weighs In on Antifa
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, on Capitol Hill Washington.   (Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP)

FBI Director Chris Wray told lawmakers Thursday that antifa is an ideology, not an organization, delivering testimony that puts him at odds with President Trump, who has said he would designate it a terror group, the AP reports. Wray did not dispute that antifa activists were a serious concern, saying that antifa was a "real thing" and that the FBI had undertaken "any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists," including into individuals who identify with antifa. But, he said, "It's not a group or an organization. It's a movement or an ideology." That characterization contradicts the depiction from Trump, who in June singled out antifa as responsible for the violence that followed George Floyd's death.

Trump tweeted that the US would be designating antifa—short for "anti-fascists" and an umbrella term for far-left-leaning militant groups—as a terrorist organization, even though such designations are historically reserved for foreign groups and antifa lacks the hierarchical structure of formal organizations. The hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee—established after the Sept. 11 attacks to confront the threat of international terrorism—focused almost entirely on domestic matters, including violence by white supremacists as well as anti-government extremists. The topics underscored the shift of attention by law enforcement at a time of intense divisions and polarization inside the country.

(More antifa stories.)

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