FBI Director Wray Contradicts Biden: Yes Antifa Is a Threat

FBI Director Wray Contradicts Biden: Yes Antifa Is a Threat
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

FBI Director Christopher Wray contradicted President Biden’s assessment of antifa, arguing that the group is more than an “idea” and poses a real threat.

From the Washington Examiner:

Last summer, during congressional testimony on antifa, Wray said the FBI viewed the group as an “ideology” or “movement” but declined to call it an organization. That brought a swift rebuke from then-President Donald Trump and was exploited by candidate Biden, who subtly twisted Wray’s quote, calling antifa an “idea” instead and implying the bureau chief said only white supremacists were a true threat.

Last week, however, Wray was repeatedly grilled by Republicans during a House Intelligence Committee hearing, and while he ditched the “ideology” language in favor of just calling it a “movement,” he would not call antifa an organization, though he insisted he did not mean it wasn’t dangerous and repeatedly said the FBI was investigating and taking it seriously.

Pressed by Republican Rep. Michael Turner on if he was sure antifa wasn’t an organization, Wray said he considered it to be more of a “movement”:

“We consider antifa to be more of a movement. … There are certainly local and regional nodes, individuals who self-identify with antifa, who commit violent attacks citing that as their motivation, and we have a number of predicated investigations into such individuals. Antifa is a real thing; it’s not a fiction, and it’s a concern.”

Wray also addressed whether antifa had undergone and organized training:

“We have seen individual instances in small regional nodes of people coming together to train,” but “there’s not some big, national structure that is responsible for the violence — what we have seen is locally organized nodes.” When pressed on the organizing, the FBI chief said “at the local level, in some cases the regional level, we have seen organized activity — people working together.”

During a 2020 presidential debate, then-candidate Biden mischaracterized Wray’s opinion on antifa to attack former President Donald Trump after Trump made a point to call out the dangers antifa posed to the country:

Biden then falsely implied Wray had said antifa was not a threat and misquoted him, with Biden saying he called antifa an “idea” — not an “ideology” or a “movement.”

“His own FBI director said the threat comes from white supremacists — antifa is an idea, not an organization,” Biden said, with Trump retorting, “Oh, you’ve gotta be kidding me.” Biden then repeated that “that’s what his FBI director said.”

“Well, then you know what? He’s wrong,” Trump said. “When a bat hits you over the head, that’s not an idea. Antifa is bad.”

But Wray is now making clear that his belief that antifa is a “movement” in no way is meant to downplay the threat:

Wray added that he wasn’t trying to minimize the threat, saying his assessment of antifa as a “movement” does not mean they are “any less dangerous or less threatening” and that “we have seen organized, tactical activity at the local and regional level; we’re investigating it very aggressively.”

Rep. Markwayne Mullin, an Oklahoma Republican, pressed Wray on why he would say that antifa is not a national organization.

“What I can tell you is that we have seen adherents to the antifa movement who organize at the tactical level, locally and regional, what I call small nodes,” Wray said, adding, “We are using our Joint Terrorism Task Forces to investigate things like tactics, funding, logistics, targeting, that sort of thing.”

In a declassified assessment, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that domestic extremists posed a “elevated threat” in 2021. The assessment seemingly made nods to antifa, singling out “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists and anti-government or anti-authority violent extremists,” but did not mention antifa by name.


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