Flashpoint Extra: Counterterrorism expert explains who ‘chaos agents’ at protests are

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  Images are surfacing of individuals who witnesses say are “inciting violence” during the mass protests and unrest following the death of George Floyd. 

They’ve been seen in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and even here in Philadelphia, and they’re accused of setting fires, smashing windows, spray-painting graffiti and handing out bricks and pipes to youth participating in riots and looting.

“Chaos agents are people who come together. They wear black, their informal name is the Black Bloc, and they show up at virtually every major protest,” explained Malcolm Nance, a former U.S. intelligence agent and counterterrorism expert.

“They are young, they are almost exclusively white, they are almost exclusively from the extreme far left, so far left they come around to the libertarian right,” he said. 

Nance said the chaos agents carry backpacks and are well prepared with frozen water bottles, pepper spray, hammers, spray paint cans, and more.

Residents of West Philadelphia reported seeing these chaos agents moments before unrest erupted on 52nd Street, and sources say these chaos agents may have used social media to advertise locations for looters to show up and take advantage.

“If someone didn’t break the glass to the building, there would not have been any looting,” Nance added. 

Nance said if you see them, get photos or video and report them to police.

“They are not interested in the black community’s grievance. They are interested in creating anarchy,” he said.