“Antifa Is A Real Thing”: FBI Director Wray Rebuts Democratic Claims That Antifa Is a “Myth”

I recently testified on Antifa and the growing anti-free speech movement in the United States. I specifically disagreed with statements by Democrats denying that Antifa was playing a role in protests or, as House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler claimed, Antifa is a “myth.” This afternoon, FBI Director Chris Wray pushed back on similar claims and declared that “Antifa is a real thing” and that the FBI has various cases of self-identified Antifa members involved in criminal conduct.

As I have written, Antifa is more of a movement than a specific organization. However, it has long been the “Keyser Söze” of the anti-free speech movement, a loosely aligned group that employs measures to avoid easy detection or association.  Wray stated “And we have quite a number — and I’ve said this quite consistently since my first time appearing before this committee — we have any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists and some of those individuals self-identify with Antifa.”

Wray was adamant: “Antifa is a real thing. It’s not a fiction” and, while it is not a conventional organization as opposed to a movement, they have arrested people who admit that they are Antifa.

I have repeatedly emphasized that extreme right groups are also responsible for recent violence and Wray made clear that far right violence still dominates in terms of a threat profile.  Moreover, I have opposed declaring Antifa a terrorist organization.  We have ample laws to deal with such extremist violence from the far left or far right. We do not need to rely on terrorism laws or most recently suggested sedition laws.

My greatest concern is that we need to take Antifa seriously as a virulent anti-free speech organization.  There is a fair criticism of some politicians who have refused to denounce the group or even support it.  Former Democratic National Committee deputy chair Keith Ellison, now the Minnesota attorney general, once said Antifa would “strike fear in the heart” of Trump. This was after Antifa had been involved in numerous acts of violence and its website was banned in Germany. His own son, Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison, declared his allegiance to Antifa in the heat of the protests this summer.

Again, I am less focused on Antifa’s role in recent rioting. It is clearly involved but there are many such groups working behind the scenes.  My focus is on Antifa’s increasing presence on our campuses and faculty who are now espousing anti-free speech views or views that either support or rationalize violent conduct.

George Washington University student Jason Charter has been charged as the alleged “ringleader” of efforts to take down statues across the capital. Charter has been an active Antifa member on campus for years. Following his arrest, he claimed the “movement is winning.” It is winning. It is winning mostly since people remain silent. Silence kills free speech. Antifa knows that.


127 thoughts on ““Antifa Is A Real Thing”: FBI Director Wray Rebuts Democratic Claims That Antifa Is a “Myth””

  1. “Glenn Greenwald

    Seems indisputable that @JoeRogan has a greater commitment to defending press freedoms, and a far better understanding of what’s at stake in the Assange prosecution and extradition, than the vast majority of establishment media outlets:…”


    “It seems like we’re talking about some kangaroo court. It seems like we’re talking about some dictatorship…” -Joe Rogan

    Yep. And most Americans have no idea what’s taking place on U.S. soil. Most Americans like their comfortable lives and are fairly complacent when it comes to what our government is doing. They vote; pay their taxes; and grumble, from time to time; but many people have shown that they’re fine with torture, war crimes, pervasive surveillance, watchlists (and all that goes with them), the erosion of our rights…, and the list goes on. They just want to be safe. What’s taking place in Portland and elsewhere shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s what happens in a dysfunctional mess like ours.

    It’s great Jonathan that you’ve had time to support your friend and colleague Bill Barr, this week. Not a peep, though, about Julian Assange.

    This would seem to apply:

    “We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.” ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn , The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

    1. it seems to me that if NYT v US allowed NYT to publish classified information then what Assange did was legal too


      the case is not entirely on point however because that case was about prior restraint, not prosecution under espionage act.
      Of course nobody at NYT was prosecuted for receiving the illegal information, so one wonders how they think Assange is liable.
      Nixon wanted prosecutions but it seemed nobody dared to offend the NYT. Not then nor now. Assange is not “NYT”
      i infer from this that not all “journalists” are created equal

      at the very least, Assange deserves a fair trial and to be held in safe and healthy conditions . He deserves the presumption of innocence and opportunity to communicate with counsel. I continue to be dismayed by the Assange debacle.

      I should like to see Trump pardon him but it seems unlikely. Assange’s scalp is high on the wish list of the defense and intelligence community and Trump has had the devil of a time just keeping his own presidency on track from their undermining. It’s my hope that if he loses at least, he will give Assange a 9th inning pardon just to spite them.

      Oh one more thing. The Limey courts aren’t going to cut Assange any slack in the extradition, that’s for sure! They’re kept women of the US intelligence community for long time since.

  2. Jonathan Turley, many years ago:


    It’s not clear that GWB actually said that the Constitution is ‘just a piece of paper’, but he certainly treated it that way. Thanks to Jonathan Turley for helping us to better understand the post 9/11 period. We are where we are for some very good reasons.

    1. Oh its a series of groups that are organized informally so as to avoid prosecution, EXACTLY LIKE CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS DO

      is the “Zetas” a narcotics trafficking cartel or is it merely an ideology? That’s ANTIFA in a nutshell. A crime organization. And not one but a thousand


      see you trace them backwards from their operations. some instances quite easy because they have little “chapters” if you will on the internet. they call them “collectives” which is just another word for group or chapter

      are outlaw biker gangs just a ‘movement” ? no they have groups

      do they not have any criminal operations just because they have some legal structure perhaps as the Hells angels do? No of course they have operations. they just embed them in cliques that are holed up inside the corporate shells./

      this is all prosecution 101. nobody is fooled by these cute questions like “Who is the leader.” nobody who’s over 30 years old at least

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