House Democrats seek information from CIA and FBI on antifa rumors

House Democrats seek information from CIA and FBI on antifa rumors

WASHINGTON — Two members of the House Intelligence Committee are asking the CIA and the FBI for any information their agencies have about the spread of false information campaigns meant to magnify and invoke fear about activities of left-wing protest groups like antifa.

In a letter sent Tuesday, Democratic Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Peter Welch of Vermont, ask the heads of the two agencies specifically about foreign actors, members of the military or local police spreading false information about antifa gatherings and events.

The letter comes amid reports that far-right groups, like white nationalist group Identity Evropa, NBC reported, have spread rumors such as those about looting and riots being planned in suburban and rural towns to stoke fear among Americans.

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., was among those perpetuating some of those, posting one of the false claims on his Instagram account. Rumors about planned protests and activities have also spread on Facebook and Nextdoor about antifa agitators in California, Idaho, South Dakota and Pennsylvania.

In their letter to CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Christopher Wray, the lawmakers ask if the agencies are investigating or have any information about people or organizations that spread the disinformation campaigns, including the group “Left Behind USA,” that claimed there would be a flag burning in Gettysburg, Pa., on July 4 — a demonstration that did not occur.

“Over the past few months, local misinformation about apparently nonexistent antifa gatherings and ‘invasions’ has proliferated in communities throughout the United States, sowing social and political division,” the letter reads. The lawmakers say they are “inquiring about any definitive evidence gathered, or ongoing investigations, by federal authorities regarding the identities or nationalities of individuals originating and promoting these falsely advertised antifa gatherings.”