The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Homeland Security

Iran Press TV

FBI warns of 'combustible violence' on US streets ahead of November election

Iran Press TV

Friday, 18 September 2020 8:03 AM

The FBI has warned of “combustible violence” on US streets ahead of the November presidential election, as tensions have recently increased between anti-racial protesters and far-right extremists during nationwide demonstrations that have followed the police killing of African American George Floyd.

Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Christopher Wray told a congressional hearing on Thursday that the FBI was deeply concerned about possible violence between groups, which have recently faced off in protests in various cities, including Portland, Rochester and Kenosha.

"Now you've got an additional level of combustible violence," Wray said, citing "violent extremist groups or individuals committing violence."

"Now you have both groups from the opposite sides adding to the combustibility and danger of the situation," he said while testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee.

Floyd’s death sparked protests across the country, including in Portland where anti-racism protesters have remained on the streets practically every night since.

Recently, tensions have escalated between supporters of President Donald Trump and protesters in Portland.

In an incident last month, the clashes resulted in the shooting death of a Trump supporter Aaron Danielson.

Michael Reinoehl, the man suspected of the killing, was later shot dead by federal troops in Lacey, Washington.

Just like Trump, Wray accused an anti-fascist movement, known as Antifa, of leading, organizing and funding acts of violence in cities across the country.

Wray also admitted to the role of white supremacists in violence.

"Within the domestic terrorism bucket as a whole, racially motivated violent extremism is, I think, the biggest bucket within that larger group," he said.

He said that white supremacists have been responsible for most of the lethal terror attacks inside the US in recent years.

Earlier this month, Kyle Rittenhouse, a Trump supporter, shot three protesters, two fatally, with an assault rifle in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests against police violence. The 17-year-old vigilante has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Trump has been under scrutiny for his response to a series of fatal incidents involving police officers and black citizens that have largely fueled the Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the nation.

The president has even deployed his federal forces to crack down on anti-racism demonstrations in US cities, including Portland, where protesters have remained on the streets practically every night.

Trump has accused Democratic leaders of supporting “civil unrest” in Portland and other cities and attributed the violence to “political opportunists.”

Democratic leaders, in response, have accused Trump of taking political advantage by promoting hate and violence.

Trump calls for ‘patriotic’ teaching in US schools

In a related development, the president on Thursday again criticized anti-racism training in schools that, according to him, destroys national unity.

Trump urged "patriotic" teaching in schools while describing racial sensitivity training as "toxic propaganda — an ideological poison that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together, will destroy our country."

"The left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools," he said. “That is why it is so urgent that we finally restore patriotic education to our schools.”

Trump has recently said that he has no responsibility “at all” to understand the pain and anger felt by Black people in the country.

He made the remarks in an interview with journalist Bob Woodward in June, when asked if, as a “white privileged” person, he has any understanding of “the anger and the pain, particularly, Black people feel in this country?"

"No," Trump said. “You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn't you? Just listen to you. Wow. No, I don't feel that at all.”

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias