A Department of Homeland Security report just revealed the agency’s complicity in pushing Donald Trump’s “Antifa” narrative during social justice protests in 2020. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) released the internal investigative report, that focuses on Trump’s acting DHS secretary, Chad Wolf, and his assemblage of a secret dossier of protesters in Portland after the murder of George Floyd.
A peaceful protester in Portland was shot in the head by one of Donald Trump’s secret police. Now Trump and Chad Wolf are weaponizing the DHS as their own occupying army to provoke violence on the streets of my hometown because they think it plays well with right-wing media.
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) July 16, 2020
The report describes attempts by top officials to link protesters to an imaginary terrorist plot in an apparent effort to boost Trump’s reelection odds, raising concerns now about the ability of a sitting president to co-opt billions of dollars worth of domestic intelligence assets for their own political gain.
“The DHS report offers a full accounting of the intelligence activities happening behind the scenes of officers’ protest containment; ‘twisted efforts,’ Wyden said, of Trump administration officials promoting ‘baseless conspiracy theories’ to manufacture of a domestic terrorist threat for the president’s ‘political gain.’ The report describes the dossiers generated by DHS as having detailed the past whereabouts and the ‘friends and followers of the subjects, as well as their interests’ — up to and including ‘First Amendment speech activity.’ Intelligence analysts had internally raised concerns about the decision to accuse anyone caught in the streets by default of being an ‘anarchist extremist’ specifically because ‘sufficient facts’ were never found ‘to support such a characterization,’” Gizmodo reported.
Despite a lack of evidence that suspected targets were part of a larger “terrorist” organization, DHS officials were given “orders handed down to ‘senior leadership’” instructing them to broadly apply the label “violent Antifa anarchists” to describe Portland protesters.
Wolf and acting deputy Ken Cuccinelli made several requests to create dossiers on all those participating in the Portland protests “regardless of whether they’d been accused of any crime,” according to the former head of DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Brian Murphy.
Internal memo from head of DHS I&A formally changing the blame for Portland violence from "Violent Opportunists" (VO) to Antifa.
FIR=field intelligence report
OSIR=open source intelligence report pic.twitter.com/xmQRrRfj5r
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) July 26, 2020
Operating under then-President Trump’s Executive Order 13933, the Federal Protective Service was joined by federal officers from across the nation to arrest “anarchists and left-wing extremists,” at Trump’s command. As a result, over 6,000 cases of force against protesters were documented. Trump’s Department of Justice was granted a motion giving police the power to force reporters off the streets after reports of journalists being beaten surfaced.
The weaponization of federal law enforcement officers during the Trump administration isn’t surprising – neither is learning his appointees tossed their oaths to the side to accommodate the delusional one-term twice impeached ex-President’s demands. These officials were complicit in the suppression of tens of thousands of Americans exercising their First Amendment rights and accelerating the rise in U.S. fascism.
Original reporting by Dell Cameron at Gizmodo.
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