FBI, Homeland Security warn LE of more antifa attacks
The Department of Homeland Security formally classified antifa's activities as "domestic terrorist violence" in 2016, according to a new report
By PoliceOne Staff
WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials have been sending warnings to local and state law enforcement since 2016 that antifa has become increasingly dangerous.
Warnings from the Department of Homeland Security state that there’s a growing threat of lethal violence between antifa and white supremacist and nationalist groups, according to interviews and confidential documents obtained by Politico. Antifa’s actions have concerned federal officials, pushing DHS to formally classify their activities as “domestic terrorist violence.”
By April 2016, authorities believed that “anarchist extremists” were the main instigators of violence at rallies. After the election in November, antifa focused on President Donald Trump’s supporters in addition to white supremacist and nationalist groups.
“It was in that period [as the Trump campaign emerged] that we really became aware of them,” one senior 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.”
Rallies are scheduled for the next couple of months, including in Texas, Oregon, Missouri and Florida.
“Both the racists and a segment of violent antifa counter-protestors are amped for battle in an escalating arms race, where police departments are outmaneuvered, resulting in increasingly violent dangerous confrontations,” former New York City police officer Brian Levin said. “It’s an orchestrated dance. The rallies spill over into social media and then even more people show up at the next rally primed for violent confrontation.”
A senior state law enforcement official told Politico that “a whole bunch of them [antifa]” have been deemed dangerous enough to be placed on U.S. terrorism watch lists.
The FBI and DHS had no comment on the statement or the documents, stating that they were not intended to be made public.