FBI Investigating If Foreign Governments Funded Capitol Insurrection

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The FBI is investigating whether foreign governments, organizations or individuals provided funds to right-wing extremists who helped to organize the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to NBC News.

The news outlet cited one current and one former FBI official.

As part of the investigation, the bureau is examining payments of $500,000 in bitcoin, apparently by a French national, to key figures and groups in the alt-right before the riot, the sources said. Those payments were documented and posted on the web this week by a company that analyzes cryptocurrency transfers. Payments of bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, can be traced because they are documented on a public ledger.

Separately, a joint threat assessment issued this week by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and various other federal and D.C.-area police agencies noted that since the Jan. 6 riot, “Russian, Iranian, and Chinese influence actors have seized the opportunity to amplify narratives in furtherance of their policy interest amid the presidential transition.”

Russian state and proxy media outlets “have amplified themes related to the violent and chaotic nature of the Capitol Hill incident, impeachment of President Trump, and social media censorship,” the unclassified intelligence report said. “In at least one instance, a Russian proxy claimed that ANTIFA members disguised themselves as supporters of President Trump, and were responsible for storming the Capitol building.”

NBC noted that Michael Sherwin, the U.S. attorney in D.C., said last week that officials are “looking at everything.”

“We’re looking at and treating this just like a significant international counterterrorism or counterintelligence operation,” Sherwin said during a news briefing, adding that officials are examining “Money, travel records, looking at disposition, movement, communication records.”

The report also noted that “The examination of possible foreign influence related to the Capitol riot, which involves the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, comes after years of what current and former FBI officials say is mounting evidence that Russia and other foreign adversaries have sought to secretly support political extremists on the far right and far left.”

Read the full report.

Image credit: Screengrab / The Straits Times / YouTube

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