Antifa is absent from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s newest report on threats facing the nation regardless of President Trump repeatedly asserting its adherents are domestic terrorists.
The latest homeland threat assessment released by DHS on Tuesday contains zero mentions of Antifa, the global anti-fascist movement that Mr. Trump has called a domestic terror organization.
DHS said violent “anarchist extremists” have co-opted lawful protests in several U.S. cities including Portland, Oregon, however, where Antifa adherents have regularly rallied in recent months.
The assessment – a 26-page public report prepared by the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, or I&A – calls white supremacist extremists the nation’s “most persistent and lethal threat.”
White supremacists conducted half of all deadly attacks done by domestic violent extremists between 2018 and 2019, excluding the five with ties to foreign terror groups, according the DHS report.
Violent white supremacists killed 39 people in the U.S. between 2018 and 2019, making them responsible for more than 80% of all deaths attributed by DHS to domestic extremists during the span.
Comparatively, homegrown violent extremists – individuals inspired by foreign terrorist organizations – killed five people during that same span, according to the DHS report.
Antifa originated in response to fascists gaining power in Europe last century. Its proponents have more recently participated in protests against police brutality, systemic racism and the Trump administration taking place throughout the U.S., including the ongoing demonstrations in Portland sparked by the death several months ago of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Mr. Trump has railed against Antifa regularly and has threatened to designate it a domestic terrorist organization for more than a year. The head of his FBI has said it is not a group, however.
“It’s not a group or an organization,” FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said last month about Antifa. “It’s a movement or an ideology.”
Mr. Trump publicly disagreed with his FBI director afterward. He subsequently described Antifa as a “dangerous radical group” during last month’s first presidential debate, adding: “And you ought to be careful of them, they’ll overthrow you.”
Joseph B. Maher, the acting head of the I&A, announced last week that the DHS inspector general is investigating the agency’s politicalization of intelligence about Antifa, meanwhile.
Those allegations relate to a whistleblower complaint which alleges DHS leadership instructed analysts to blame Antifa for violence occurring amid the ongoing protests taking place in Portland.
Without mentioning Antifa, the latest DHS threat assessment said the recent violence in Portland resulted in responding DHS law enforcement officers suffering over 300 separate injuries.
“This violence, perpetrated by anarchist extremists and detailed in numerous public statements that remain available on the DHS website, significantly threatens the Homeland by undermining officer and public safety-as well as our values and way of life,” Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf wrote in the forward to the assessment.
Although the DHS report does not make any mention of Antifa, let alone attribute its adherents to any attacks or murders, the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism put a tally on the movement’s death toll in a study it published earlier this year: Anarchists and anti-fascist activists conducted a total of two domestic terror attacks between 2015 and 2019, and the only person to die as a result from either was one of the perpetrators responsible, according to the report.
More recently, prosecutors charged a self-identified Antifa supporter with fatally shooting a supporter of the right-wing Patriot Prayer group in Portland last month. The suspected killer was fatally shot by authorities days later, however.
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