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A new federal intelligence memo sent to all U.S. law enforcement agencies says white supremacists and racist terrorists groups now pose the biggest domestic violence threat to the United States.
Interestingly, however, the bulletin makes little mention of “Antifa,” a loose-knit group of Left-wing anarchists singled out by President Donald Trump for designation as domestic terrorists earlier this month as riots and violence broke out following the death of George Floyd.
“Based upon current information, we assess the greatest threat of lethal violence continues to emanate from lone offenders with racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist ideologies and [domestic violent extremists] with personalized ideologies,” the bulletin reads, according to ABC News, which was given a copy.
“Additionally, anarchist extremists continue to pose the most significant threat of targeted assaults against police, as well as targeting government buildings and police vehicles for damage, sometimes with improvised incendiary devices,” the bulletin states.
The bulletin was leaked as a group of armed Left-wing anarchists took over a seven-block section of Seattle, including a police precinct building that was vacated earlier this week after reportedly receiving a “credible” threat it would be attacked.
ABC News noted that experts have previously told the network that Antifa does encompass several violent Left-wing ideologies including anarchy, Communism, and socialism. However, the organization was relegated to a footnote in the bulletin, which was an intelligence product of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center.
“Some anarchist extremists self-identify as ‘Antifa,’ a moniker for anti-fascist that is also used by non-violent adherents. Identifying with ‘Antifa’ or using the term without engaging in violent extremism may also be constitutionally protected,” the memo said.
But so, too, can non-violent protesting from Right-wing groups be considered “constitutionally protected.”
In late May, President Trump announced he would be declaring Antifa a domestic terrorist group as members of the organization were linked to at least some of the violence and rioting in the wake of the Floyd death.
“The violence and vandalism is being led by Antifa and other radical left-wing groups who are terrorizing the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses and burning down buildings…my administration will stop mob violence and we’ll stop it cold,” he said during a Cape Canaveral speech.
Earlier, U.S. Attorney General William Barr told reporters during a press conference the government had information that several otherwise peaceful Floyd protests “are being hijacked by violent radical elements.”
(Source: Fox News)
“Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda,” he said. “In many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized, and driven by anarchistic and far-left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from out of state to promote the violence.”
The intelligence bulletin issued to local and state police departments was titled, “Domestic Violent Extremists Could Exploit Current Events to Incite or Justify Attacks on Law Enforcement or Civilians Engaged in First Amendment-Protected Activities,” ABC News reported.
It notes that potential domestic terrorists “including militia extremists and [groups] who advocate a belief in the superiority of the white race have sought to bring about a second civil war, often referred to as a ‘Boogaloo’ by intentionally instigating violence at First Amendment-protected activities.
“Racially charged events, coupled with the accompanying widespread media attention, and the rapid dissemination of violent online rhetoric by [extremists], are likely to remain contributing factors to potentially ideologically motivated violence,” the bulletin says.
It’s not clear whether the bulletin is meant to undercut President Trump’s Antifa claims. However, the FBI and Homeland Security began warning local police agencies in early 2016 that Antifa members had become so violent their activities were being described as “domestic terrorist violence.”
Previously unreported documents disclose that by April 2016, authorities believed that “anarchist extremists” were the primary instigators of violence at public rallies against a range of targets. They were blamed by authorities for attacks on the police, government and political institutions, along with symbols of “the capitalist system,” racism, social injustice and fascism, according to a confidential 2016 joint intelligence assessment by DHS and the FBI.
The timeframe for the uptick in violence coincides with Trump’s rise in the polls and to the top of a crowded list of Republican presidential contenders he eventually bested.
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