Congressman Jim Banks (R-IN) has sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting that Antifa be listed as an extremist organization.
“Antifa employs violence to coerce Americans into silence,” said Banks in a statement, adding, “To my great surprise, we are witnessing similar style tactics right here in our country. The FBI must take this threat seriously.”
The letter cites numerous violent attacks by Antifa, including the attempted firebombing of an ICE detention center in Tacoma, Washington and the assault of journalist Andy Ngo in Portland.
Banks wants the FBI to add a subsection to its website listing of “extremist ideologies” that “properly encompasses Antifa’s political goals as openly broadcasted by its leaders on their social media platforms.”
Last month, Senators Ted Cruz and Bill Cassidy also introduced a resolution calling for Antifa to be designated a “domestic terrorist organization.”
“Antifa is a terrorist organization composed of hateful, intolerant radicals who pursue their extreme agenda through aggressive violence. Time and time again their actions have demonstrated that their central purpose is to inflict harm on those who oppose their views,” tweeted Cruz after introducing the resolution.
Last week, President Trump also tweeted that he was considering having Antifa declared a terrorist organization.
Back in July 2017, the Department of Homeland Security in New Jersey officially listed Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization after a rash of violent attacks by the group targeting supporters of Donald Trump.
Read Jim Banks’ full letter to the FBI below.
The Honorable Christopher Wray
Director Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW Washington, D.C. 20535-000 1
Dear Director Wray:
I write to you today out of concern for the health of America’s political discourse. In the past year, members of the Antifa movement have gained public attention for a series of criminal acts; including terrorist attacks, violent assaults, vandalism, and intimidation.
On June 19, 2019, a mob of Antifa members violently assaulted journalist, Andy Ngo, as he reported on opposing political protests in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Ngo suffered serious head injuries, including bleeding in his brain. The long-term consequences of his injuries remain uncertain, but Mr. Ngo continues to experience negative symptoms, including memory loss, and cognitive communication deficit.
On July 13, 2019, Antifa member Willem Van Spronsen threw firebombs at an ICE detention center in Tacoma, Washington, before attempting to ignite the facility’s large propane tank. He was shot dead by police at the scene. Seattle Antifascist Action described him as “a martyr who gave his life to the struggle against fascism”.
In June of 2018 Antifa circulated a list of 1,600 ICE workers, evidently to identify potential targets for its members.
In 2017, during the March 4 Trump rally in Berkeley California, 10 rally-goers were injured, and 7 protestors were arrested.
The list of criminal and dangerous Antifa activity goes on and on; but the point is concise. Antifa employs violence to coerce Americans into silence.
Recently, Congress has begun to address the threat posed by Antifa. My colleagues Rep. Mark Green, and Rep. Mark Walker are introducing a resolution condemning Antifa. On July 18, 2019, Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. and Ted Cruz introduced legislation to declare Antifa a domestic terrorist organization. It’s clear to me that Antifa meets the definition of domestic terrorism outlined in section 802 of the Patriot Act and has earned this designation.
While the FBI declines to keep a public or official list of domestic terrorist organizations, it does outline extremist ideologies that often lead to domestic terrorism. The list, accessible on the FBI website, does not include a category under which Antifa could reasonably be counted. Given the rise in terrorist activities by Antifa members, and the organization’s presence in several major American cities, it’s my suggestion that the FBI add a subsection that properly encompasses Antifa’s political goals as openly broadcasted by its leaders on their social media platforms.
This subsection would be fittingly titled “Anti-1st Amendment Extremists.” Antifa often describes itself as a ‘counter protest’ organization with the stated goal of suppressing fascist speech, political demonstrations, and media. Conveniently, Antifa has redefined fascism to include anyone who disagrees with their opaque political agenda. What that agenda is exactly is imprecise by design—their central aim is to silence any and all moderate and conservative politics or ideologies.
I urge you to take this simple first step towards protecting our First Amendment rights from those that would destroy them. I look forward to your response regarding this request and other action the FBI is prepared to take in light of these aggressions.
Member of Congress
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