The Washington Times published an article Wednesday night claiming facial-recognition firm XRVision had "matched two Philadelphia antifa members to two men inside the Senate" during the siege of the Capitol by a mob of supporters of President Trump, including one with a "tattoo that indicates he is a Stalinist sympathizer." The Times issued a correction Thursday and published a new version reporting that "facial recognition software has identified neo-Nazis and other extremists as participants in Wednesday's assault on the U.S. Capitol."
Before the Times issued its correction, XRVision told BuzzFeed News its software had actually identified two members of neo-Nazi organizations and a QAnon supporter, not antifa, adding that its lawyers had told the Times to "cease and desist" with its "defamatory" article, "retract the current claims, and publish an apology." The Times did apologize to XRVision in its correction, but still suggested antifa may have been involved, citing an unidentified "law enforcement source" and claims by Republicans lawmakers.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) had blamed antifa for causing the pro-Trump rioters to storm the Capitol in a floor speech early Thursday, but he cited the since-retracted Washington Times report. The antifa canard was also popular on conservative cable news networks.
"The people occupying the Capitol building do not look like antifa people dressed in Trump gear or Trump costumes," Andy Ngo, known for posting out-of-context videos from antifa and Black Lives Matter protests in Portland and Seattle, told conservative Washington Examiner columnist Paul Bedard. "I have seen no evidence that they are able to coordinate a mass infiltration on this scale before, so I'm really skeptical that they would have been able to do it here without any of that information leaking out."
The idea that antifa, a loose collective of self-styled anti-fascists, had actually stormed the Capitol was always dubious, not least because they marched from a pro-Trump rally, Trump said he loved them, several widely recognized Trump supporters were seen leading the riot, and we know they led the riot because the people ransacking the Capitol were not shy about having their photos taken. Antifa usually wears masks.