Biden Intel chief nominee Avril Haines pledges public report on QAnon threat
Avril Haines, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to serve as director of national intelligence, vowed Tuesday to produce a public assessment of threats posed by proponents of the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon if confirmed by the Senate.
Haines made the pledge during her Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing in response to a question from Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who spearheaded a letter signed by a dozen other Senate Democrats last month asking the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide Congress with a written assessment of QAnon threats.
Heinrich said Tuesday that he had not yet received a response from the agencies, and asked Haines to commit to working with DHS and the FBI to conduct the assessment.
“Yes senator, I’ve seen the letter, and I absolutely, if confirmed, would work with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to get you an answer to that question. And I know in particular you ask about foreign influence operations and how those are affecting QAnon and how they are exacerbating the message that is being provided and the misinformation, so I will,” Haines said.
The commitment comes almost two weeks after rioters, many of whom are QAnon believers, stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the counting of Electoral College votes certifying Biden won the presidential election in November.
After the attack that left five people dead, social media sites took action, with Twitter removing more than 70,000 accounts, including those of major QAnon promoters. Proponents of the conspiracy theory, a group that has grown over the past year, believe that a cabal of pedophile political elites run the world and are plotting against President Trump.
Haines’s testimony comes a day after the FBI sent an intelligence report to law enforcement warning that QAnon followers may attempt to pose as National Guard members in an effort to infiltrate Biden’s inauguration ceremonies.