Confidential FBI documents, obtained by Politico, show that U.S. law enforcement describes the group as “domestic terrorists.”
A new Politico report revealed that “a whole bunch” of Antifa extremists have been placed on U.S. terror watch lists, according to a law enforcement official.
Investigations into the decentralized group started in early 2016, under the Obama administration, after political violence surrounding the 2016 election escalated throughout the campaign.
Anti-Trump protesters had attacked supporters of now-President Trump outside rallies in Chicago and San Jose, and authorities decided to initiate investigations of far-left groups and determine if the violence would escalate:
By the spring of 2016, the anarchist groups had become so aggressive, including making armed attacks on individuals and small groups of perceived enemies, that federal officials launched a global investigation with the help of the U.S. intelligence community, according to the DHS and FBI assessment.
The purpose of the investigation, according to the April 2016 assessment: To determine whether the U.S.-based anarchists might start committing terrorist bombings like their counterparts in “foreign anarchist extremist movements” in Greece, Italy and Mexico, possibly at the Republican and Democratic conventions that summer.
The resulting report led the Department of Homeland Security to label Antifa activities as “domestic terrorist violence,” and the report said the decentralized group was engaged in “conduct deemed potentially suspicious and indicative of terrorist activity.”
Politico alleged that the report led credence to Trump’s claim that “many sides” were responsible for the deadly violence that occured in Charlottesville this moth, but seemed to place some of the blame on the president:
Those reports appear to bolster Trump’s insistence that extremists on the left bore some blame for the clashes in Charlottesville and represent a “problem” nationally. But they also reflect the extent that his own political movement has spurred the violent backlash.
Following Trump’s political rise, one law enforcement official told Politico, “These antifa guys were showing up with weapons, shields and bike helmets and just beating the shit out of people. … They’re using Molotov cocktails, they’re starting fires, they’re throwing bombs and smashing windows.”
The report also indicated that law enforcement was ill-equipped to deal with the large-scale violence between far-right and far-left extremists. As numbers in the two extremes swell, the result could be more violence on American streets.
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