FBI Director Christopher Wray has revealed that the bureau is looking into possible foreign influence or even interference behind George Floyd protests which have rocked the nation after the police-related slaying on Memorial Day.
Wray, during a televised interview on Fox News, said the FBI was ‘looking carefully’ at the possibility of foreign influence or interference on the protests because of the track record some US adversaries have had in the past.
‘We have certainly seen in the past a variety of foreign adversaries looking to amplify controversy in this country,’ Wray said. ‘And they use state media. They use social media. Some of that is through propaganda, some of that’s through disinformation, some of that’s through just fake information.’
‘And we are looking carefully at the prospect of foreign influence or foreign interference in all of the protests and activities that have occurred over the last few weeks,’ Wray added.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has revealed that the bureau is looking into possible foreign influence or even interference behind George Floyd protests which have rocked the nation after the police-related slaying on Memorial Day
Wray, during a televised interview on Fox News, said the FBI was ‘looking carefully’ at the possibility of foreign influence or interference on the protests because of the track record some US adversaries have had in the past. Pictured are protesters in Washington this week
Protesters are seen setting fire to a a statue of Confederate Army officer Albert Pike. The FBI is probing whether US adversaries who have previously helped stir up domestic controversies may be involved behind George Floyd protests
He does not mention specifically what country or adversary was being watched.
Wray, during the interview on Fox, did mention that the FBI has more than 2,000 ‘active investigations’ that trace back to the government of China. That number is about 1,300 per cent higher in terms of economic espionage investigations with a Chinese nexis from about a decade ago.
However, he did not link the statement to the possible adversaries that were possibly behind the Floyd protests. Floyd, a 46-year-old black father of five, died after former police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on the man’s neck for almost nine minutes during an arrest.
Video footage of the incident taken by a bystander shows the police-related slaying, which triggered the protests that have followed calling for an end to police brutality and systematic racism.
Wray’s comments come after President Donald Trump claimed on Wednesday that protesters will be coming after statues of Jesus Christ and the founding fathers next and said he’d be ready to sign a ‘very strong executive order’ by the end of week to punish those who topple statues.
‘Now they are looking at Jesus Christ, they are looking at George Washington, Thomas Jefferson,’ the president said during a Rose Garden press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Trump, who has been working on an executive order that would strengthen laws protecting historical statues, said it would be ready for his signature by the end of week. He said earlier this week it would include up to 10 years in prison for anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such federal property.
‘We are going to come out with a strong executive order. I should have that by the end of the week, which is fast approaching. We are going to have a very powerful statement,’ he said at his press conference.
Wray’s comments come after President Donald Trump (pictured) claimed on Wednesday that protesters will be coming after statues of Jesus Christ and the founding fathers next and vowed to punish those who topple statues by executive order
The president’s interest in the issue came after protesters tried to pull down a statue of President Andrew Jackson that sits in Lafayette Park across from the White House on Monday night. They had ropes tied around the monument – which features the former president sitting aside a rearing horse – and were attempting to pull it down when members of law enforcement put a stop to it.
Lafayette Park has been a setting for massive Black Lives Matters protests that sprung up in the wake of the death of George Floyd. The administration had that area cleared of protesters – using chemical agents and rubber bullets – so Trump could walk to St. John’s church for a photo-op holding the bible, a move that earned him criticism.
Protesters on Monday also blocked off several streets around the White House and painted the letters B.H.A.Z., meaning Black House Autonomous Zone, around the area including on St. John’s church where Trump had his photo taken.
Trump’s move to crack down on protesters toppling statues comes after demonstrators tried to pull down a statue of President Andrew Jackson that sits in Lafayette Park across from the White House on Monday night. The statue is pictured the day after the failed vandalism
‘There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President,’ Trump tweeted in response. ‘If they try they will be met with serious force!’
His tweet was later flagged by Twitter for breaking its rules against abusive behavior. The tweet was muzzled so viewers have to click a link to see it.
Since Monday night’s protests Trump has taken up the cause of protecting memorials and monuments throughout out the United States. Jackson is one of his favorite presidents and he has a portrait of him in the Oval Office.