by Hollie McKay
Agitators behind the rioting that has paralyzed the country over the past week want to move into more suburban areas, a government intelligence source has told Fox News.
Much of the worry stems from the notion that many in well-armed, suburban, and rural neighborhoods won’t hesitate to exercise their Second Amendment rights and elevated anxieties could lead to heavy confrontation.
“Antifa knows this,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Local and state authorities have to get a grip on this because if it moves to the suburbs, more people will die.”
Several analysts pointed to places that have served as something of “testbed” locations – including Madison, Wis., which was ransacked Saturday night, along with quiet pockets of Charleston, S.C.
While it remains murky as to who exactly is behind the ongoing turbulence taking place in dozens of cities nationwide, much of the finger-pointing has been directed toward Antifa, a radical left-wing anti-fascist outfit.
But most officials and analysts have surmised that there a number of players and agendas with regards to the rioting, which has overshadowed the peaceful protests calling out racial inequalities and police brutality directed toward African-Americans.
A police officer stands behind a riot shield during nationwide unrest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd in Oklahoma City, Okla., U.S., May 31, 2020. (Reuters)
But even before riots exploded across the United States in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, federal and local officials have long been investigating the inner workings and revenue stream of the anarchist, left-wing outfit.
And arrests among its highest ranks may be imminent.
Intelligence sources pointed out that indictments have been building for some time, and a close examination of funding revenues remains under the microscope. While Antifa operates as something of a leaderless militant wing, sources closely engaged in the matter said that there are identifiable top brass driving and inciting criminal activity.
“These are smart people, educated people and it runs like a cell right out of the anti-fascist tradecraft books of Europe in the 1970s, it doesn’t have a head or hierarchy, but it has a lot of local leadership,” the government insider explained. “The local apparatus has very good intelligence capabilities, but where their weaknesses are is in communication and using apps that allow for large group chats.”
An NYPD source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, concurred that fears were escalating in suburban pockets of New York state following a rash of rumors pertaining to looting starting there.
“People in other places like Suffolk County are worrying, preparing for the worst,” said the source. “There is just a lot of confusion and fear.”
Moreover, the group’s “electronic communication” shows that they plan where to show up and typically arrive at pre-determined locations on bikes.
While Antifa is alleged to be playing a prominent role in the chaos – prompting President Trump to announce plans to label them a terrorist organization – on the other end of the spectrum, right-wing radical groups are also believed to be stoking the fires and capitalizing on the calamity.
Twitter said Tuesday that it had suspended the account of a white supremacist group for spreading discord and disinformation across the social media platform, using the “Antifa_US” umbrella and threatening to go into the “white hoods.”
Police in riot gear stand in front of the White House as demonstrators gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Saturday, May 30, 2020, outside the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP)
Furthermore, law enforcement officials have also stressed that much of criminal activity and stealing is also stemming from opportunistic individuals with no greater intention than to steal and wreak havoc, with no broader ideological leanings.
And amid the turmoil and uncertainty, gun sales are projected to soar nationwide this month as the unrest and looting continue, with store owners from Los Angeles to Virginia all documenting lines around the block on Monday.
Gunmakers American Outdoor Brands and Sturm, Ruger & Co., ammunition maker Vista Outdoor and police body cam and Taser stun gun maker Axon Enterprise were all trading higher as investors priced in the possibility the violence could propel already surging sales.
The DOJ declined to comment.