A former intelligence official, Clint Watts, on Tuesday defended Antifa when discussing the role of various groups in the violent January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that resulted in five people dead.
His comments came after FBI Director Christopher Wray earlier on Tuesday testified before senators about the bureau’s sweeping investigation into the events of January 6, saying that there wasn’t “any evidence” Antifa staged the riot and framed it on Trump supporters, as a number of Trump allies have alleged. So far, over 300 people have been charged in connection with the attack, which Wray called “domestic terrorism.”
Watts, who has served on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and has been affiliated with other counterterrorism groups, made the comments Tuesday evening on MSNBC.
“There is no equivalency by any measure between Antifa or any political-left terrorism right now and what’s going on on the political right,” said Watts, who is currently a senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University and a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
During the summer, a number of individuals with ties to Antifa committed acts of violence and vandalism at various Black Lives Matter protests across the country, especially in Portland, Oregon. In recent months, Antifa extremists have carried out vandalism in that city—such as on the day of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, when Antifa members damaged a Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building as well as the Democratic Party of Oregon’s headquarters.
“And I always like to remind people when they hear ‘Antifa,’ that means ‘anti-fascist,’ which in response to another,” Watts continued. “So if you have Antifa, you have ‘fa,’ or as in ‘fascist,’ which comes down to white supremacy.”
He went on to say that white supremacy is “the No. 1 issue in the country in terms of domestic terrorism and terrorism overall, and it’s followed up very closely behind by anti-government militia groups,” then citing Wray’s comments about far-right militia groups from that day’s hearing.
“We have not to date seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to Antifa in connection with [January 6],” Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “That doesn’t mean we’re not looking, and we’ll continue to look, but at the moment we have not seen that.”
The FBI director also said that the number of FBI domestic terrorism investigations has doubled since he assumed his role in 2017 to over 2,000. During his tenure, the number of probes into white supremacists has tripled, with the number of investigations into anarchist extremists having considerably risen too, Wray mentioned.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Watts tweeted a couple of his thoughts expressing his displeasure with the hearing and the discussion of Antifa.
“Cannot wrap my head around how Senator Grassley can compare what happened on January 6 and years of white supremacist mass shoutings being equivalent in any way to left wing extremism,” he posted at 10:28 a.m.
And, a little over half an hour later, Watts wrote: “Almost an hour into hearing, Antifa has been mentioned many times and there’s not been a single mention of QAnon, Proud Boys, III%er or Oathkeepers – all surfaced in Jan 6 charges. Antifa as of now has not surfaced in Jan 6 & Wray said he’s seen no evidence of it.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’
Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social, “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”
Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”
It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.
Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.
And the escalation of war is visible.
Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.
Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.
Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”
Morning. Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.
— Oleksiy Goncharenko (@GoncharenkoUa) January 26, 2023
The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”
F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.
Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.
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