Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray must have dreaded coming to sit before the Senate Judiciary Hearing Tuesday. The members wanted to know why the FBI had failed to communicate adequately with the Capitol Police, Congress, and others. Already, Wray was facing the premise that his agency had failed. But did it?
Basically, the hearing was divided into three aspects:
- FBI Director Christopher Wray testified regarding the supposed breakdowns in shared communications before and during the January 6 Capitol riot.
- What was the agency doing to improve itself, and what did it need in money, manpower, and equipment to do so? As the amount of domestic terrorism has increased, the need for funding the FBI has not.
- Who was involved in the insurrection, and what was the breakdown of the different groups? At least 250 people have been arrested, five people died followed by two suicides of Capitol police during the failed coup.
Why was no stronger alarm issued rather than following traditional methods of communications? Wray pointed out that in 2020, the FBI repeatedly tried to sound the alarm during the election and up to and including the inauguration.
Wray indicated that after January 6, there had been a massive amount of incoming data, and not the luxury of time, people, tools to respond.
Several senators expressed irritation that the FBI appeared to be nonresponsive to senators’ questions and letters.
Ranking Member Chuck Grassley asked about the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. He wanted to know what happened and whether a homicide investigation had been launched. Wray responded, according to CNN:
‘As soon as there are information that we could appropriately share, we want to be able to do that, but at the moment the investigation is still ongoing.’
He said the agency could not go deep, because the FBI could not “disclose or confirm a cause of death” at this point in the investigation.
Antifa and other leftist groups were not involved on January 6. There was no evidence the leftists added “fuel to the insurrection:
‘We have not, to date, seen any evidence of anarchist violence extremists or people subscribing to Antifa in connection to the 6th.’
Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin asked whether the attack was organized by “fake Trump protesters.” Wray responded:
‘We have not seen evidence of that, at this stage, certainly.’
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) was angry:
‘Heard you would “Work with you.” Every time, and not going to accept that anymore.’
‘[Of the 260 participants arrested] many professing allegiance to Trump, disgust for Congress and support of revolution — have been charged in federal court related to their actions in and around the US Capitol siege on January 6.’
Almost a dozen Trump supporters who were charged in the investigation claimed Antifa and other left-wing groups participated. Wray said they were not involved:
‘[Some insurrectionists were] racially motivated violent extremists [advocating White supremacy.’
Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin asked Wray if he agreed that white supremacists and other violent extremists attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6. He responded:
‘[The FBI sees] quite a number of what would we call militia violent extremists” as the FBI builds its cases against the rioters. He specifically mentioned the groups the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.’
There were also instances of “racially motivated violent extremists” who support white supremacy. Wray said:
‘One of the things that is happening as part of this is that as we build out the cases on the individuals when we arrest them for the violence, we’re getting a richer and richer understanding of the different people’s motivations.’
‘But certainly as I said, militia violent extremism and some instances of racially motivated violent extremism, especially advocating for the superior of the white race.’
Wray also noted that during his tenure as FBI director, he’s seen a growth in the number of investigations related to racially motivated violent extremism. The degree of “savagery” and “organization” has also increased among Central American terrorists. However, Director Wray did not open classify QAnon as a danger during the hearing.
He did warn about the lone actor. Wray said that families and friends had helped considerably in identifying them. He no longer says “lone wolf,” because it “gives them too much credit.”
Wrays said the number of investigations regarding “racially motivated violent extremism” was increasing:
‘When it comes to racially-motivated violent extremism, the number of investigations and number of arrests has grown significantly on my watch.’
‘And the number of arrests for example of racially motivated violent extremists who are what you would categorize as White supremacists last year, was almost triple the number it was in my first year as director.’
Additional points include:
- No evidence of Antifa, Black Lives, Matter, posers of white supremacists on January 6.
- Domestic terrorism has been “metastasizing across the country for a long time now.”
- The FBI has been “sounding the alarm [for a] number of years now.”
- The agency saw January 6 as a “critical threat,” and notified key personnel with warnings prior to the insurrection
- The FBI elevated domestic terrorism as “racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism to our highest threat priority [equal to] ISIS and homegrown violent extremism.”
- Wray’s agency is apolitical he said, and “does not investigate ideology, but we focus on acts of violence and violations of federal law.’
- People have sent the FBI more than 270,000 digital media tips about January 6.
- The FBI has arrested more than 270 people to date and more than 300 when you include the FBI’s partner agencies.
- In January the FBI warned of a violent “war” at the US Capitol a day before the deadly siege, but it wasn’t acted upon urgently enough to prevent the domestic terrorist attack.
- The old “See something say something” works. He urged people to contact the FBI, local police, or state police. They all work together.
- There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
- Senator Cory Booker noted that many in the crowd believed they were saving their country based upon the big lie.
- Who could call out the National Guard? Two top-level military members.
- Durbin said insurrectionists who stormed on January 6th did not wear white robes and hoods. “They might as well have. They have the latest incarnation of violent white supremacist movements that has terrorized fellow Americans on basis of race, religion, and national origin for more than 150 years,” he said.
- Data analytics requires tools and people for investigations. That means much more funding.
- Wray is trying to incentivize social media to self-police.
- Durbin called for unity. “[I] hope we could come together on a bipartisan basis to defeat this threat.’
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.