FBI Chief Warns Violent ‘Domestic Terrorism’ Growing In US
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Wray also defended to lawmakers his own agency’s handling of an intelligence report that warned of the prospect for violence on January 6. And he firmly rejected false claims advanced by some Republicans that anti-Trump groups had organized the deadly riot that began when a violent mob stormed the building as Congress was gathering to certify results of the presidential election.
Wray’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, his first before Congress since the insurrection, was one in a series of hearings centered on the law enforcement response to the Capitol insurrection.
Lawmakers pressed him not only about possible intelligence and communication failures ahead of the riot but also about the threat of violence from white supremacists, militias and other extremists that the FBI says it is prioritizing with the same urgency as the menace of international terrorism organizations.
“January 6 was not an isolated event. The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now and it’s not going away anytime soon,” Wray told lawmakers. “At the FBI, we’ve been sounding the alarm on it for a number of years now.”
The violence at the Capitol made clear that a law enforcement agency that remade itself after the September 11, 2001, attacks to deal with international terrorism is now laboring to address homegrown violence by white Americans.
The new US administration of President Joe Biden has tasked his national intelligence director to work with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to assess the threat. And in applying the domestic terrorism label to conduct inside the Capitol, Wray sought to make clear to senators that he was clear-eyed about the scope and urgency of the problem.