House Homeland Security Committee asks for more information about extremist involvement in protests

House Homeland Security Committee asks for more information about extremist involvement in protests
© Greg Nash

The House Homeland Security Committee requested in a letter released Monday that administration officials provide more information about alleged extremist involvement in protests over George Floyd’s death.

The Democratic members of the committee addressed the letter, dated for Tuesday, to FBI Director Christopher Wray and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad WolfChad WolfPence addresses 16 new citizens at pre-Independence Day naturalization ceremony Arizona reports record number of new coronavirus cases, deaths DHS deploying new task force to protect monuments ahead of July 4 MORE.

The committee, led by Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonState legislatures consider US Capitol's Confederate statues House eyes votes to remove symbols of Confederates from Capitol House to vote on removing bust of Supreme Court justice who wrote Dred Scott ruling MORE (D-Miss.), wrote that it has “serious concerns” about the “Constitutional implications” of officials’ statements that left-wing and right-wing extremists are instigating violence at Floyd protests.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We also seek to understand the truth and evidence behind reports of extremist involvement in protests and how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI are responding to these issues while ensuring that Americans’ civil rights and civil liberties are protected,” the committee said in the letter.

“The stakes — including the protection of Americans’ physical safety and their Constitutional rights — are enormous,” the letter added.

The committee is requesting all documents from Jan. 1 to present related to intelligence on ongoing protests, including information given to law enforcement partners, to the designation of groups as domestic terrorist organizations, to the deployment of DHS employees at demonstrations and to the surveillance of protesters. 

The deadline to deliver the documents is June 19, and the letter says the committee will be briefed by the DHS and the FBI by June 12. 

The letter follows reports that right-wing and left-wing anti-government groups have been involved in the Floyd protests within Minnesota and across the country.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' MORE announced on Monday the U.S. plans to designate anti-facist activists, known as antifa, as a terrorist organization, although federal authorities are unable to so label domestic groups. 

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: DC's Bowser says protesters and nation were 'assaulted' in front of Lafayette Square last month; Brazil's Bolsonaro, noted virus skeptic, tests positive for COVID-19 FBI Director Wray warns of Chinese hacking, espionage threats against American companies Executing four white men won't erase death penalty racism MORE also called out the decentralized group on Sunday saying in a statement, "The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”