The FBI has identified conspiracy theories, including those espoused by QAnon, as a domestic terrorism threat, according to report Thursday.
It is the first time the FBI has labeled fringe conspiracy theories as a terrorism threat.
Yahoo News reported the intelligence bulletin, which it says originated from the FBI’s Phoenix office. The previously unpublicized bulletin was released in May, according to the report.
The FBI bulletin specifically mentions QAnon, a group that believes there is a deep state working against President Trump, and Pizzagate, a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and other Democratic leaders are operating a child sex trafficking ring underneath a Washington, D.C., pizza shop.
The FBI believes these stories will spread, “driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the bulletin said. Agents are on alert that such conspiracy theories could spread during the 2020 election, the bureau said.
Both Pizzagate and QAnon conspiracies have been linked to acts of violence.
In 2016, a man fired bullets into the D.C. pizza shop alleged to be the center of the sex trafficking ring. He told police he was there to investigate the conspiracy.
Last month, an attorney for a man accused of gunning down a mob boss in New York City said his client was inspired by QAnon.
The Yahoo report surfaces a week after FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that white supremacist violence was the majority of domestic terrorism cases the bureau has investigated in fiscal year 2019.
The memo, however, states conspiracy theory violence is separate from racially motivated attacks.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at email@example.com.
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