Rep. Jim Banks Asks FBI to Add Antifa to List of Extremist Ideologies
WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03) sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Ray requesting the FBI add a new subsection to its list of extremist ideologies that would include Antifa. This paves the way for the FBI to target Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization.
Rep. Jim Banks: "The point of my letter is simple. Antifa employs violence to coerce Americans into silence. As a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, I am intimately familiar with the tactics of terrorist groups and how they employ fear/violence to silence political enemies. To my great surprise, we are witnessing similar style tactics right here in our country. The FBI must take this threat seriously."
Note: In 2014 and 2015, Rep. Jim Banks deployed to Afghanistan during Operations Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel. He received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for his military leadership in Afghanistan.
Letter: [full contents of the letter copied below. PDF available upon request]
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
Congressman Jim Banks represents Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District and serves on the House Armed Services Committee, Committee on Veterans Affairs, and Committee on Education and Labor. Please direct all press inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.