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FBI's Wray Says U.S. Faces Rising Threats From Terrorism, Violence

FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Americans face increasing threats from domestic terrorism and violent crime, as he faced questions about the Biden administration’s priorities and efforts to stop violence. Senators pressed Wray on FBI efforts to contain the flow of illegal guns and address mass shootings, as well as whether the agency has bowed to the political whims of the Biden administration, Roll Call reports. “The range of criminal and national security threats that we face as a nation has never been greater or more diverse, and the demands and expectations on the FBI have never been higher,” Wray said. He said the agency could use more funds on everything from gun background checks to efforts to counter Chinese espionage. He acknowledged some of the agency’s shortcomings in addressing major threats, such as its inability to predict the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

Wray also said the agency needs more resources to implement recent changes to federal gun background checks. The recent reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act requires federal authorities to notify local law enforcement of a failed background check, and the recent gun violence bill requires more intense background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21. Ranking committee ranking member Charles Grassley (R-IA) said the FBI has not done enough to stem the increase in violent crime. The Iowa Republican said the agency opened politically motivated investigations into parents who protested local school board decisions in the coronavirus pandemic. “The Justice Department and the FBI must also make violent crime a top priority. However, instead of doing so, it seems like the Biden Justice Department and FBI have focused on intimidating parents who are concerned about how schools treat their children,” Grassley said. Members on both sides of the aisle pressed Wray on his efforts to address politically and racially motivated violence more broadly. “I feel like every day I'm getting briefed on somebody's throwing a Molotov cocktail at someone, for some issue. It's crazy,” Wray said.

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