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FBI Director: Antifa is an Ideology, Not an Organization

September 20, 2020, 07.05 PM

WASHINGTON, - FBI Director Chris Wray told lawmakers that Antifa is an ideology, not an organization hence putting him at odds with President Donald Trump.

The US President has said that he would designate it as a terror group.

Hours after the statement, Trump went on a Twitter attack against the FBI Director for his statements on Antifa and Russian election interference.

The two themes dominated a congressional hearing on threats to the American homeland.

Referring to Antifa, the president wrote: “And I look at them as a bunch of well-funded ANARCHISTS & THUGS who are protected because the Comey/Mueller inspired FBI is simply unable, or unwilling, to find their funding source, and allows them to get away with “murder”. LAW & ORDER!”

Read also: Expect Foreign Interference from Russia, China, and Iran in US Presidential Election

The Twitter barbs thrust Wray again into a spotlight that he has spent three years trying to avoid after his predecessor, James Comey, became entangled in politics before being ultimately fired.

Though Wray said as recently as Thursday that the FBI made unacceptable mistakes during its investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Trump nonetheless has intermittently lashed out at Wray over the pace of fixing those problems and continues to regard his intelligence community with suspicion because of the Russia probe.

Wray did not dispute in his testimony Thursday 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 — short for “anti-fascists” and an umbrella term for far-left-leaning militant groups — as responsible for the violence that followed George Floyd's death.

Trump tweeted that the US would be designating Antifa 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 September 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.

Read also: Coronavirus Pandemic Alters 9/11 Tribute Traditions for Americans

The topics underscored the shift of attention by law enforcement at a time of intense divisions and polarization inside the country.


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