Leaked DHS Document Undercuts Trump’s Portrayal Of Antifa As Significant Threat
A leaked Department of Homeland Security document undercuts the Trump campaign’s use of and justification for a former Nazi symbol, a red inverted triangle, in new Facebook ads meant to warn about “antifa.”
While public scrutiny led to Facebook pulling the ads, the Trump campaign justified its use of the symbol by saying it’s a “common Antifa symbol.” The ads warned of “dangerous MOBS of far-left groups” that continue “DESTROYING our cities.”
The leaked document, dated June 17 and acquired by The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, says “anarchist and anti-government extremists pose the most significant threat of targeted low-level, protest-related assaults against law enforcement.” Antifa, a “loose motley group allied against neo-fascist activity,” does not match the document’s vague definition of “anarchist extremists” or “anti-government extremists,” nor is the term used in the document.
“This document shows that the government itself does not view antifa as a significant threat in the homeland,” Juliette Kayyem, a former DHS official who reviewed the document at my request, told me.
“The document shows how absurd the Trump campaign’s justification for using the symbol really is,” Kayyem added. “It undercuts their defense.”
The document also contradicts Trump’s continued fearmongering about violent leftists, saying that “overall protest-related violence" has been "decreasing significantly during the last week.”
“Violent opportunists” are said to pose a threat to law enforcement in the coming days as the document mentions “white supremacist” and “black supremacist” extremists, and even the “Boogaloo movement,” which is an “extremist movement trying to exploit protests to incite race war.”
Another leaked document from earlier this month claimed the greatest threat came from “lone offenders with racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist ideologies,” further demonstrating that the Trump campaign’s continued warnings of antifa have no grounds.
These documents expose the Trump administration’s attempt to “distort the true nature of these multiracial, largely peaceful and broadly representative national protests in a very fundamental way,” Sargent wrote.
Continued emphasis on antifa could leave law enforcement more at risk, as a former DHS official said: “Attributing the risk to one group (or mischaracterizing its structure) is dangerous, because it misses the holistic nature of the problem” and “excludes those that do present a danger.”