FBI Chief Sounds Alarm On National Safety

(HorizonPost.com) – FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday urged Congress to reauthorize Section 702 of FISA, warning that potential bad actors could carry out domestic attacks due to escalating events overseas, ABC News reported.

Wray was on Capitol Hill to testify before the House Appropriations Committee about funding for the FBI.

In his testimony, Wray said the bureau’s “most immediate concern” was that small groups or lone actors could “draw twisted inspiration” from the ongoing events in the Middle East to launch attacks on the US homeland.

Wray said the FBI was growing increasingly concerned about a possible “coordinated attack” similar to the terrorist attack on a concert hall in Moscow in late March.

The FBI Director said there had never been a time in his career when so many national security and public safety threats were “elevated all at once.”

According to the written testimony provided by Director Wray, in FY2023, the FBI had 4,000 open investigations on international terrorism.

He told lawmakers that there had been a “substantial jump in threats” against FBI facilities and personnel from FY2022 to FY2023, which prompted the bureau to create a “dedicated unit” to investigate the threats.

Wray, who was testifying before the committee to discuss the $500 million decrease in the bureau’s budget, urged lawmakers to get the FBI’s budget “back on track” to ensure that it had the funding it needed to maintain its efforts.

He also urged lawmakers to reauthorize Section 702, which allows the government to collect communications of non-Americans overseas without a warrant.

A procedural vote to reauthorize Section 702 with some reforms in place failed on Wednesday after nineteen Republicans voted against it, saying the reforms did not go far enough to protect the civil liberties of American citizens.

The Republican lawmakers sought an amendment that would have required intelligence agencies, including the FBI, to obtain a warrant before gaining access to Americans’ data.

Wray said reauthorizing Section 702 was “critical in securing our nation,” especially in “crunch time.”

Late on Friday, April 12, the Republican-controlled House passed a reauthorization of Section 702.

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