FBI Examining If Foreign Sources Funded Capitol Extremists
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Saturday, 16 January 2021 09:38 PM
The FBI is looking into whether extremists who planned and executed the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol were funded by foreign organizations, individuals, and governments, including examining payments of $500,000 from a French national to key groups and figures before the rioting, according to a former FBI official.
The payments, made in Bitcoin, were documented by a company that analyzes transfers of cryptocurrency, reports NBC News. Such payments are documented through a public ledger, allowing them to be traced.
In addition, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies have reported, since the riot, actors influenced by Russia, China, and Iran have "seized the opportunity to amplify narratives in furtherance of their policy interest amid the presidential transition."
"In at least one instance, a Russian proxy claimed that antifa members disguised themselves as supporters of President [Donald] Trump, and were responsible for storming the Capitol Building," according to one unclassified intelligence report.
Chinese media has also used the riots to cast the United States "broadly in decline and to justify the country's crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong."
According to the FBI official, Russian involvement is not necessarily suspected in the Bitcoin transfers. The French computer programmer suspected of making the transfers reportedly died by suicide Dec. 8 after triggering the transfers, French media reported.
The FBI is also examining whether any of the money was used to finance illegal acts, which could bring money laundering and conspiracy charges.