Skip to main content

tv   FBI Director Wray Testifies on 2023 Budget Request  CSPAN  May 29, 2022 1:05pm-2:50pm EDT

1:05 pm
>> >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government, funded by these television companies and more, including sparklight. >> the greatest town on earth is the place you call home. sparklight is our home too. we are facing our greatest challenge. that is why sparklight is working round-the-clock to keep you protected. we are doing our part so it is easier to do yours. >> sparklight supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> fbi director christopher wray says the agency is dedicating full resources to investigate the deadly mass shooting in uv alde, texas. he made it on the budget request for a subcommittee. he was also asked about domestic
1:06 pm
terrorism threats and concerns around the southern border. hearing runs an hour and 45 minutes. nd 45 minutes.
1:07 pm
>> the committee will now come to order. good afternoon, welcome to today's hearing. to review the president's fiscal request for the federal bureau of investigation. our witnesses fbi director christopher wray, it is very nice to have your before the committee again. i must admit, that i rewrote my
1:08 pm
opening statement for today's hearing. based on the tragic events in texas. i want to begin by recognizing the more than 36,000 employees of the fbi to protect our country from violent criminals, terrorists and others who would mean is great harm. i want to thank everyone at the fbi for their dedication and service to the country. the fbi remains on standby to jump into action to assist their state, local and tribal partners, investigating criminal activity. the most recent example of this, was assisting in the horrific aftermath at the shooting at robb elementary school in uvalde , texas yesterday. a shooting that has claimed 21 lives, 19 of them children. i, as a mother, and grandmother, i really cannot begin to imagine the pain these families are going through.
1:09 pm
i want to thank the fbi for sending agents in and other staff so quickly. to what i know has been a very difficult crime scene. i understand the fbi has made victim specialist available as part of the response and i hope they're able to remain in this community as long as they are needed. if this committee can provide resources to helping that happened, please let us know. i know we don't know yet what motivated this killer. i know several of our colleagues have called for better mental health screening from forcing laws to keep guns out of the hands of felons and for schools. i would agree with all of those recommendations. i also think congress needs to act to strengthen background checks and stop allowing the sale of weapons of war. as my colleague, senator murphy pointed out yesterday, mental illness is not unique to the united states. but the devastating rate of gun violence is.
1:10 pm
>> dancing in a nightclub and out lando -- orlando or getting groceries in buffalo, they were motivated by individuals motivated by hate. the fbi's budget request of $10.8 billion includes additional resources for combating domestic terrorism and mass violence. we have discussed this topic for in this committee -- before in
1:11 pm
in this committee, we have witnessed a white supremacist targeting people based on their race, gender, sexual orientation and faith. we are fortunate the technological progress have given us the advances in science and manufacturing as well as improving the ease and how we can communicate with others. unfortunately, new technologies have also allowed the rapid spread of hate, conspiracy theory and disinformation, wider audience. they have allowed those with extremist views to find a community. i hesitate to call it a community because i think of it as something positive, to others who share those extremist views. we should be able to freely express our ideas it should not, the expense of someone else's life or well-being. we clearly need to find better solutions and actions to stem future violence and i know the
1:12 pm
fbi will be part of those solutions. just as the fbi rapidly response to crisis situations, i believe congress needs to also find a way to more quickly and appropriately respond to the issue of mass violence, including those committed with firearms and domestic terrorism. i am ready to work on common sense legislation that i think the majority of americans to kent -- americans can support. i'm sure many of my colleagues on this committee will join me as well. director wray, i look forward to your testimony. with that, i would like to recognize the subcommittee vice chair senator moran for his opening remarks. >> thank you very much and for convening this hearing. director wray, welcome back to the subcommittee. i, too, before considering the budget request would like to make a brief word on yesterday senseless act of violence that stole the lives of 19 children.
1:13 pm
and to teachers. my wife and i've had this conversation it is heartbreaking. the murder of these innocent children is horrific. in a small town, tightknit community like uvalde, kind of like a town i grew up in. there will not be a single member of the community was not touched by this tragedy. director wray i am confident you will bring the full investigative powers to bear in determining the warnings in determining how and why. i'm confident there will be an introspection, examining whether all lawe -- laws, policies were properly followed and we await your findings. the fbi is requesting $10.7 billion for salaries and expenses in 2023. the amount is 6% above the fy 22 enacted. as we have seen demonstrated in
1:14 pm
texas and in buffalo and nearly every city across the country, violent crime including murders, assaults and robberies are on the rise. i can give this committee statistics on the rise of crimes, but no one here, especially after yesterday's tragic shooting, doubts that violent crime is rising in our country. we have seen a dramatic increase on a tax against on -- attacks on law enforcement officers. this is a matter i know you care about deeply. i have seen it in your conversations and herded in your testimony. i experienced it in our telephone call yesterday. i asked -- appreciate your efforts to raise awareness about the violent crime occurring across our country. while i know to the bureau is working to keep us safe here at home, we also face ever involving threats from foreign adversaries as well. i recognize your job is really unless. there's never enough that can be done. you have repeatedly warned that
1:15 pm
nothing presents a broader severe threat to our ideas, innovation and economic security than the chinese government. i understand as of january of this year, the fbi is investigating more than 2000 cases of chinese government trying to steal our information and technology and the fbi is opening a new counterintelligence case every 12 hours. i'm interested to learn about the fbi's efforts to address cybercrimes and ransomware. the bureau may transformational changes after 9/11 -- made it transformational changes after 9/11 and they keep the nation safe against acts of terrorism. similar acts main be needed to combat -- may be needed to combat state actors. i appreciated your comments to the students of university of kansas when we were there this past march. where you emphasized how important it will be to bring their talents to the front line of the cybersecurity workforce. director wray, i look forward to
1:16 pm
hearing today, about the bureau's budget, your budget request, and i hope to be able to help you in -- and the fbi address all of the challenges we face in this country, related to law enforcement. the challenges are tremendous. the ones we saw, reminded of again yesterday are the forefront, the world is a dangerous place, every place we turn. i welcome you to the subcommittee and i look forward to a somber and sober discussion of the circumstances we find ourselves in. >> thank you. at this time, the senator would like to make a statement. >> thank you. chair shaheen. for your comments. director wray, i am just telling you some of my concerns. 21 victims.
1:17 pm
21 families that will wake up in the morning with broken hearts. those of us, who have children are not, those who have had children or grandchildren, 19 children murdered, gun violence is an epidemic. it can't be ignored. it can't be overstated. it can't be hidden behind the guise of an on sellable second amendment argument. i do not want to overreact. i'm angry. i am extremely angry the 19 more children, and two adults who are fighting to protect them had been murdered. murdered. i'm angry at today, too many in
1:18 pm
congress are voting to accept these mass shootings is another breaking news story, part of our daily lives, and pray for the victims, for course we pray for the victims, but what the hell are we doing to stop further victims? i have had firearms responsibly my entire life. i support a strong second amendment. i spent eight years in law enforcement. but simple common sense, what should be shared humanity, and quietly acknowledge -- and not quietly knowledge the crisis. we know this is a crises but then do something about it. 10 years ago, a murderer took the lives of 26 people including 20 children in sandy hook. i looked at the senate judiciary committee of what should happen in the epidemic of gun violence.
1:19 pm
two years ago, as chairman, i worked to break through the years long refusal to provide the cdc and -- with the resources to simply study the routes of gun violence. -- roots of gun violence. they blocked the lobby for years of even having a study of gun violence. now we need more. next year, no, we have to do it now. how many more people will die before this country says enough is enough? i will say today, it is enough. director ray, thank you for being here today. as the director of the federal bureau of investigation, you have a critically important job. you have to protect our country from tourette -- terrorism, and crimes and doing that, you have
1:20 pm
to uphold the rights and values that make this a great democracy. i don't envy that task, i respect that task. but the heinous mass shooting in buffalo, new york earlier this month is a stark reminder that domestic terrorism is still very much present in the united states. it is also a somber reminder, that the majority of domestic terrorism, perpetrated against innocent americans, is driven by those that spout whites -- white supremacy and racial ideology. it's a simple fact. that is what makes this so dangerous. when facts are destroyed into untruths by those with the pulpit to do so, it's a danger to our democracy.
1:21 pm
we cannot condemn the actions of white supremacist or simply acknowledge the january 6, 2021 attack on our capital for what it was, and insurrection, we allow them to grow. it is alarming to me. it should be to every american. whether you are republicans or democrats, independents, it's alarming. it also further highlights the work of the dedicated men and women of the bureau and your leadership director ray. each year, this appropriations committee will wrestle our best to dedicate valuable taxpayer dollars. next week i'm going to have binders this thick, reading through all of these budget requests. in exchange for the money we said we expect, the threats of domestic terrorism, we expect
1:22 pm
you to pay for the employees here to investigate whatever crime is committed, to work with the department of justice, state and local law enforcement to hold the perpetrators of any crime accountable. i am ready to support you but i also want you to respond when we have questions, whether they are republicans or democrats on this committee. so, thank you for the courtesy. >> thank you. director wray, the floor is yours. >> thank you. good afternoon chair, ranking member, members of the subcommittee. i know we are here to talk. , i want to begin with what is on everyone's hearts and minds. yesterday we got the news that
1:23 pm
we all dread, including those of us in law enforcement. we do this work for the victims. both the actual victims on the victims were trying to prevent from being victims. there is no category that moore motivates the men and women of law enforcement, including -- more benefits the med -- motivates the men and women of law enforcement. it was too devastating to fathom for whole community and nation, they were shaken by another horrific mass shooting. this time at an elementary school full of young kids, days away from finishing their school year. my heart goes out to the family -- families of the victims and the entire community of uvalde. i know you are experiencing unimaginable pain and trauma. the entire fbi family feels your heartbreak and stands with you. there will be more that we will
1:24 pm
learn about this heinous attack in the days ahead. i know the american people and especially the people of uvalde are looking for answers. i want to acknowledge the heroism of all law enforcement who responded immediately to the scene. for our part the fbi will continue to work around the clock, with the texas department of public health safety and the uvalde police department and our other local and state and federal partners to assist in any way we can. we are dedicating the full resources of the fbi's san antonio field office, and a whole host of other fbi divisions to helping the texas dps and the uvalde police who had the lead in the investigation. on top of that we are devoting significant national resources including investigative and analytical resources, evidence response, and laboratory personnel, victim services, professionals to assist the
1:25 pm
families of the victims, crisis management and behavioral analysis units. bottom line, we are absolutely heartbroken about yesterday's tragic events and committed to doing our part to support our partners in the investigation and the community of uvalde. as we begin to try to move forward. of course, the range of criminals, cyber and counterintelligence threats we face as a nation as never been greater. we are more diverse and the demands and expectations placed upon the fbi have never been higher. before take your questions i want to spend a few minutes talking about the fbi's efforts in some of those areas. namely our efforts to combat terrorism, both domestic and international and our efforts to help tackle the rise in violent crime. unfortunately, this tragedy, as well as the recent tragedy in
1:26 pm
buffalo and way too many before, reinforce what we in the fbi have been so concerned about for so long and that is the threat of loan actors who look to attack every day going about their regular everyday lives. in fact, it is that threat, that we continue to be most concerned about here in the homeland. while it is too soon to be commenting on the motivation behind yesterday's tragedy. i don't want to get out ahead of texas dps which has the lead on that. as a horrific attack, a little over a week ago in buffalo shows, we have to continue to stay laser focus on our efforts to counter violence, motivated by hate, and extremism. even on the international terrorism side, we are seeing homegrown violent extremists inspired by groups like isis, al qaeda, acting alone or in small groups and leaving fewer dots to connect and less time in which
1:27 pm
to connect them. encountering fast-moving threats like these requires a team of -- approach. we have requested enhancement not just for additional investigators before personnel to help us perform the important outreach that is essential to countering this threat. the scourge of violent crime extends beyond mass shootings and beyond crimes motivated by extremist ideology. in fact, rising violence, is the number one concern i hear about from chiefs and sheriffs all across the country, with whom i speak just about every week. with those partners, we are leading hundreds of taskforces to get the worst of the worst off the streets. we are sharing intelligence to focus -- share collected -- to focus our collected efforts in bringing expertise to bring more violent criminals to justice.
1:28 pm
last fiscal year those taskforces focused on violent crimes, made more than 17,000 arrests, seized more than 8000 illegally pleasant firearms and dismantled nearly 300 gangs and criminal enterprises across the country. that is all separate and apart and in addition to all of our joint terrorism task force work on the terrorism side, domestic terrorism, international terrorism. i should add that this hearing falling two years to the day after the murder of george floyd i want to emphasize that we end our state local partners are also focused on improving interactions between law enforcement and the communities we all serve to ensure equal justice for all. these are just a few of the threats we are tackling. the fbi's budget request this year reflects the breath, depth and complexity of those threats. in addition to the things i have mentioned, each and every day our folks are dealing with the
1:29 pm
ever-expanding array of threats on the cyber front, from ransomware and the theft of trade secrets and personal information to malign influence campaigns, to intrusions tackling our critical infrastructure. that includes working with our private sector government and foreign partners to meet the danger from russian cyber actors during this time of russia's unprovoked aggression in the ukraine. we are also taking on the chinese government's broad scale espionage campaign that targets are innovation, ideas and economic security, and today, as we mark the 40th national missing children's day, it is important to highlight the work of our 400 fbi personnel and nearly 800 additional officers who serve on our child exploitation and human trafficking task force that we've dedicated to investigating crimes against children. and to identifying and looking -- locating child victims. our fellow citizens look to us
1:30 pm
to protect the united states from all of those threats and a whole bunch more. i am proud to see the men and women of the fbi step up and rise to meet those challenges every day. i would like to thank this subcommittee for all of the support you've provided the men and women of the fbi over the years. and to the community of uvalde, we will provide whatever resources we can, we will support you however we can. we will stand with you in our thoughts -- and our thoughts and prayers. i'm happy to take your questions. >> thank you very much. let me just announce at the beginning we will have five minute questioning rounds. i will call on people in order of arrival. all of the questioners will be in person. we will not have anyone on webex. i will begin the questions. i know it is very recent, but are there any updates that you can give us from uvalde, from
1:31 pm
what we have found out about the shooters motivation? i know the reports are that he acted alone, but is there any other information that you can share with the committee? >> unfortunately, it is such a fluid situation right now. i want to respect the fact that the texas dps has a lead on the investigation. i do not want to get out of front of them. my experience teaches me that in these incidents, the facts change, as we understand, quite rapidly within the first few days. with respect, there's not much i can add. beyond what is already been reported. -- has already been reported. >> you said in your testimony, one of the biggest threats, and concerns, is the threat of loan actors -- lone actors who attack people they do not know indiscriminately.
1:32 pm
are there statistics over the years that show there has been increasing percentage of those kinds of crimes and do we have any idea, any research, into what is motivating those kinds of lone individuals? >> on the first part, on the statistical side, i do not know that i can quote you statistics. but i can tell you, that we at the fbi, i know from my first few months as an fbi director, have been highlighting this threat, the lone actors using readily accessible weapons, attacking what would -- is often referred to as soft targets which are regular everyday people, whatever they are doing in their lives. as to what motivates them, that is all over the map. it's everything from the racially motivated extremists,
1:33 pm
the different sorts of anarchists on militia violent extremists, to homegrown violent extremists, which is a term we use it to distinguish people who are here already in the u.s., but who are inspired by foreign terrorist organizations like isis and al qaeda. increasingly, we are saying people with this kind of weird hodgepodge blend of ideologies. the old-school world of people with some purity of radical ideology, then turning to violence, is often giving way to people who have a jumbled, mixed up ideas -- a jumble of mixed up ideas. we have seen a case where one person says they say they're in -- they stay they're in isis supporter in the next there are white supremacist. we have guys in minneapolis that ended up deciding to provide material support.
1:34 pm
i look at the el paso shooter in walmart, if you look at his manifesto it is all over the place. we are having more challenges trying to unpack what are often sort of incoherent, belief systems combined with personal grievances. >> there is no doubt that violent crime is increasing. i see that in my home state of new hampshire. it seems that over the last couple of years, it has been a reaction to covid, to the opioid epidemic, to factors, the availability of weapons is another factor. are there other things that we are thinking have happened over the last couple of years that have contributed to the violent crime we are seeing today? >> i would agree with the several you listed.
1:35 pm
i would add to that. we are seeing for a variety of reasons, way too many of repeat offenders or dangerous offenders ending up back out on the streets. certain prosecution practices or sentences that don't adequately keep someone behind bars when they really need to be. i would say, a lot of police departments in this country, if you talk to most, chiefs and sheriffs i'm doing about -- doing that about every week, most of them are struggling with recruiting and retention. that does not help. we need to support the men and women of law enforcement. because that is who stands between us and the violent criminal element. >> thank you. senator moran. >> chairman, thank you. director wray, this subcommittee has investigate russian vested hundreds of million dollars --
1:36 pm
and vet -- invested hundreds of millions of dollars in programs that support anonymous report hotlines, and training for school personnel. your team at the fbi has some of the best minds in the world when it comes to emergency situations, have you heard from your experts? what have you heard about the most effective ways to prevent and respond to these terrible events? >> what i would say is we're doing a number of things on this front to try to help harden, i hate the fact that we even have to talk about a hardening of our schools, but it is a reality, that they have to come -- become targets. in addition to all of our investigative work, our bread-and-butter, the cases where bringing of different sorts of violent crime, terrorism crimes, gang crimes, we provide all sorts of support through training and capacity
1:37 pm
building. we have trained something like 110,000 different law enforcement officers on active shooter responses. we have put out a whole bunch of different psa's and instructional videos to schools, to school resource officers and administrators, houses of worship, communities, as well as law enforcement, to help them better defend. there is a host of information there. in addition to that, we are providing forensic support through our lab. we're doing shooting incident reconstruction. i mentioned in my opening statement, in uvalde we have evidence response, that is one of the things we are quickly asked to provide by our and local partners. but that is after the fact. but we are trying to do with how to better it in front of it. >> we would welcome your advice
1:38 pm
and suggestions. last year in this room you and i spoke we flee about counterintelligence -- we spoke briefly about counterintelligence threats. i had the opportunity to question the attorney general about the cartel activities there. the purpose of those questions a year ago, where to address what i had learned on my visits to texas, that last year, previous to those hearings. which, while immigration dominates the conversation about the southern border, there are grave national security threats there. this was confirmed just yesterday when an fbi search warrant unsealed in ohio revealed, assassination plot against former president george w. bush, they plan to smuggle in assassinations from mexico. a recording laming to smuggle to
1:39 pm
an -- individuals into united states, yesterday's events compel me to start again on this topic we started last year. what is the fbi's assessment of the national securities threats along our southern border but borders generally? what can you tell us in this setting about the number of known or suspected terrorist or special interest aliens have crossed in the u.s. from mexico? >> border security is a major, major challenge that cuts across a whole host of the programs we serve. the national security piece of it your highlighting is one part of it. i am part of the work our folks did on the ohio case that you mentioned. we worked closely with secret service on that to coordinate that to make sure it was all done in a way that was -- would prevent any true threat from
1:40 pm
coming to fruition. any point of entry is the potential vulnerability that bad actors of all sorts, including national security threats, can seek to exploit. i have been down to all of our field offices that have border crossings as part of their area of responsibility. i have had folks show me around so i could see first what they're. dealing with. they have a heck of a challenge on their hands. through our joint terrorism task force, we work closely with our dhs partners to try to bring the counterterrorism threat -- that is probably i would -- all i would be able to stay in an open hearing. but you are right to be focused on it as an issue of concern.
1:41 pm
>> perhaps we will have a chance to have a closed session as well. chairman, thank you. >> thank you senator moran. senator kennedy. >> i remember when you were nominated. unconfirmed. cash and confirmed -- and confirmed. boy, was i glad to see you. i believe then and i believe now that you are not a politician. i think your predecessor was. he and others did immeasurable damage to one of the most important institutions in america.
1:42 pm
because i believe as you do that in addition to the dea, the fbi's probably the premier law enforcement agency and all of human history and it should be above politics. for the record, who is michael sussmann. >> he is a lawyer who is currently involved in a trial, by the special team. >> his law firm, was counseled to secretary hurley clinton's campaign, right -- hillary clinton campaign? >> i am mindful that the case is currently in the middle of trial.
1:43 pm
we have agents and i have assigned agents to work on the team. i want to be really careful about not getting into a discussion about a case that is currently in front of a very independent and strong-willed federal judge and a jury right now. >> mr. sussmann was counseled to secretary clinton's campaign. we also know he was the source of the information provided to the fbi that the trump campaign, had a back channel munication to russia, which we now know -- communication to russia which we now know was not true. is it true that michael sussmann counseled to the hillary clinton campaign and the source of this information about the allegations regarding the trump campaign, it is true he had a special badge, they gave him
1:44 pm
special privileges in entering the fbi building? >> what i would say to you is much in keeping with the comments he made at the beginning about my commitment to trying to make sure i do this job the right way. that includes making sure that with the case that is currently in the middle of trial and an investigation is being run that we are actively helping him with, i do not think i can get into a discussion of those topics at the moment. >> when the fbi open the file, to investigate mr. sussmann's allegations is it true that the fbi concealed his identity? >> again, i completely understand your interest. i respect it. i hope you will respect the fact
1:45 pm
that because i have agents working with them on the case and they are in the middle of trial, i do not think i can get into a discussion of that here. >> won the fbi open its file -- when the fbi open its file to investigate the allegations that mr. sussmann on behalf of the clinton campaign made, now known to be untrue, about these channel communications between the trump campaign and russia, when they reopen the file, is a true that the file said the source of this information was not mr. sussmann but the department of justice? >> these are the very kinds of questions that are being litigated in front of the jury and judge cooper right now. >> senator kennedy i would urge you to follow a separate line of
1:46 pm
questioning, as director wray has said he is not going to answer. >> i appreciate that madam chair . i want my time back. >> you can have those three seconds. >> you talked. for about 10 seconds. i appreciate your help with my questions but i can handle it myself. at some point you're going to have to address this. i understand you do not want to address this in the middle of a prosecution, but there are millions of americans that look at this and think, i'm not saying they are correct, that the fbi has become a political organization at some point you're going to have to address this. the institution is just too important. some of my colleagues may not want to talk about this. but we are going to have to talk about it at some point. >> first off, i totally
1:47 pm
appreciate your concern about our institution. i will tell you that what i can speak to now is that i have implemented all sorts of reforms, that i have spoken about publicly, over 40 plus corrective measures to deal with a lot of the issues that are the heart of the underlying investigation. i completely turned over the entire leadership team in the fbi. we have taken disciplinary actions where we could. we have also had close cooperation with the special counsel. that is the best thing i can do to help address the concerns you're talking about. as for the guys reputation, i will tell you, having been to all 56 of our field offices, almost all of them twice, new orleans just earlier this month,
1:48 pm
what i find in talking to americans out -- find in talking to americans out in the field, law enforcement partners, community leaders, victims, prosecutors, families, it is a widespread and no -- an appreciation for the fbi. i hope you will be relieved to know that in louisiana, over the last three years, two and half years, the number of people in louisiana planned to be special agents of the fbi has doubled what it was in the first few years when i took over. i think that speaks well of the good citizens of louisiana and their appreciation and view of the fbi's credibility. >> i think you for coming in all of the hard work you've done -- thank you for all the hard work you've done. i'm going to stand by my comments. you are going to have to address this and assure the american
1:49 pm
people, that the rot is gone. thank you. >> thank you chairwoman and director it is great to see you again. i would like to turn my comments to something disturbing that is happening now with respect to the stream -- supreme court justices. we have seen protests at the homes of the supreme court justices and their families, something that is out of bounds. it also may be illegal. federal law prohibits protesting at the residence of the judge with the intention of influencing the judge. many of the protesters are doing just that, protesting outside of their homes attempting to intimidate them into changing the ruling on the dobbs case. is the fbi investigating these protesters as a potential crime? >> i don't want to get into any particular predicated assessment to an investigation we may have
1:50 pm
ongoing right now. we are working very closely with the u.s. marshals who, as you may know, are providing round-the-clock security at the justices homes and with the supreme court justice marshall -- supreme court marshall and police they have the responsibility of the protection of the judges themselves and the facility. i will tell you this, my view, and my instructions to the fbi are, there is a right way and a wrong way in our system and under the constitution to express what you are upset about and who you are upset with. and violence and threats of violence, no matter what you are upset about or who you are upset with, and not the way to go. -- is not the way to go. we will ensure that. >> the u.s. supreme court released on the news, a
1:51 pm
significant increase in violent threats. supreme court justices in the supreme court building, as fbi director, it sounds you received information that supreme court members are facing threats that warrant increased security and intelligence resources. >> we are in close contact with them. receiving tips and leads and things like that from them, without weighing in in the way of assessments and investigations we have open. but, my -- but we are going to aggressively pursue violence and threats of violence against public officials, including against judges. >> i appreciate that. i share your concerns and i think many in our committee, i am working here on our side to make certain, along with the extra help that the u.s. marshals are providing that if there are any shortfalls in the monetary resources, and the new
1:52 pm
term, to make certain the justices and their families are properly protected that we address that. heaven forbid, these threats turn into the violence that concerns us both. i would like to turn to another issue, at our southern border. specifically the case of a colombian national, who recently crossed our southern border and was flagged by the fbi terrorist screening center. he was released by border patrol agents into the u.s. on april 18. then on april 21, three days after his release, the fbi alerted the department of homeland security that this man was on the terrorist watch list. two think the dhs would immediately arrest this person -- she would think the dhs would immediately arrest this person, despite knowing he was released in the u.s., the leadership of the homeland security did not authorize ice to arrest him until two weeks later. he was in florida i that time. this colombian nationalist was caught by dhs and released into
1:53 pm
the u.s. before the fbi determined he was on the terrorist watch list. is that your understanding as well? >> i will confess that i am not sure i am familiar with the specific case. it has a vague ring of familiarity of something i got briefed on. i will have to circle back. >> you can see my concern. my broader question is in your view if this were to happen, does that jeopardize american safety, to catch and release of border crossing, and do they have the opportunity to make that determination if they are terrorists? >> we need to have close/up between fbi agents, especially on the border states with their dhs counterparts, who have a very tough job. the usually have people -- they usually have people designated on our task force to prevent
1:54 pm
some of the slippage. >> slippage is a great concern. further concern, is dhs -- hs taking two weeks -- dhs taking two weeks to notify person, does that concern you as well? slippage that can endanger american safety? >> i think i would need to drill and further to make sure i've got the full context. >> i would've fruit -- appreciate that. can you let me know how many border crossers have been apprehended that have been on the national terrorist list. when i went to the border myself, about six weeks ago, i was informed that 157 different nationalities had been apprehended at our southern border in the past year. that is a deep national security concern. i would very much appreciate you following up, in terms of what is known and if you have any estimates on what is not known. i would think that is a greater concern. are those people that are coming here using the border, for
1:55 pm
sen. shaheen: senator o. -- capito. >> we are going to be asked to consider legislation tomorrow regarding domestic terrorism. much of your written statement was devoted to the topic of domestic terrorism. the doj has a unit dedicated to antiterrorism presently. you testified that your agency has boosted resources directed toward these initiatives. can you elaborate on existing initiatives on domestic terrorism prevention and investigation, and how you are working with existing agencies and departments? one of the fears i would have with this legislation is that we are creating more information
1:56 pm
that could slow the accuracy of that. i'd like to hear your comments on that, please. mr. wray: i would decline to weigh in on the legislation itself, but you are right, we are doing a whole lot on domestic terrorism already. we have, i think, over the last three years, and this started in summer of 2019 and continued since then. we have, i think, more than doubled our domestic terrorism caseload. i think we are now up to 2700 domestic terrorism investigations, they cover the waterfront of different types. we have created a hate crimes fusion cell to bring both those kinds of expertise together. we have had some significant plots disrupted using those efforts. we have our joint terrorism task forces in all 56 field offices,
1:57 pm
about 4400 investigators working on it. i would also say in our budget request before the subcommittee, we are asking for more resources for domestic terrorism. that is separate from any legislative effort, just in our fy 23 -- >> where would you say those investigative dollars need to be increased budget terribly, or is it just an overall? mr. wray: two things. it is investigators and tools. technical tools increasingly in the domestic terrorism space, much like in other criminal arenas, the terrorists are reverting to use of technology to make it harder and harder to connect the dots. that's another part of it. we have in the short run had this sort of surge of resources
1:58 pm
to handle the domestic terrorism caseload, and as i mentioned in my opening statement, i do not think we are in a position where and if these other threats, the traditional violent crime threats that i hear about all the time, the international terrorism threat that is absolutely not going away, that has likely abated during covid. but especially in the wake of the withdrawal in afghanistan i think we can of the fbi, are going to have a bigger and bigger role on the foreign terrorist ret. partly, our budget request is designed to make sure the duct tape approach we have been using the last 18 months to two years is not the way we have to continue going forward, so we can have a longer standing commitment. >> a wider reach, assuming you are not taking from something else. i think the american public
1:59 pm
would like to know, i have no idea what the answer is, the tragedy in texas - what role does the fbi play in this, or do you play a role? mr. wray: we are in a support role. we are in touch with dps, a texas law enforcement agency, they have the lead. we are in a support role. our support takes all sorts of forms. we have investigative resources, analytical resources, we have lab personnel doing evidence response. we have other kinds of forensic response, we have victims serv ices professionals who are helping the families of the victims. we have crisis management teams, we have a whole host of things down there. but it is a formidable footprint
2:00 pm
and engine. >> thank you for those agents working in that support. this is very difficult i'm sure, for them as well. i would just like to add, the local offices that i hear from in charleston, west virginia, i would like to thank them and you because they are very tied to us. i'm sure all of us have heard from our local offices in this time of uneasiness. and i just really appreciate the efforts to which they go to include me, and my family and others who might be in a precarious situation from time to time. so please extend my great attitude that. >> thank you, i am going to turn the gavel over to senator collins while i go vote. either senator moran or i will be back shortly. >> thank you, you know how much i like having the gavel. [laughter] director wray, thank you for
2:01 pm
being here today. your agency is so important in so many areas and some anyways. all of us are clearly horrified by the vicious killings that occurred yesterday. and i want to ask you about one approach that has been taken, and get your judgment about it. the state of maine is among some states that have enacted statutes that recall either red or yellow flag laws. the law in maine was developed in consultation with a wide range of groups, essentially allows the court to have the police temporarily confiscate firearms from someone who is deemed to be a danger to either him or herself, or to others. importantly, the maine law
2:02 pm
includes due process rights, and a medical assessment, so it can't be just some neighbors opinion, or even a family member's opinion, there has to be a medical assessment as well. that is to ensure that the concerns are well-founded, and that second amendment rights for law-abiding citizens are protected. in your experience, how successful have these relatively new red flag and yellow flag laws been? mr. wray: that's a very good question. i'm not sure that i have seen any kind of rigorous assessment overall of the ss a -- so-called red flag laws. i know that doj has recently published a model statute for
2:03 pm
states to consider. what i could say to you is that it's been our experience that with a whole wide variety of shooter situations, whether it is a terrorist type situation, or traditional violent criminal situation, most of the time you see that there was someone who knew the person, or came into contact with the person, who saw some change in alarmed them. and in the situations where law enforcement has been successful at preventing an attack, it is almost always thanks to somebody like that coming forward. whether it is done through a protective order of the sort you are describing, or just because they contacted law and richmond, and law enforcement was able to act, and the ones that have not
2:04 pm
been prevented. an awful lot of the time, it turns out there was somebody who may be did not know to contact long as men, or was afraid for one reason or another. and you hear all the time the saying, if you see something, say something. and most people when they hear that, they picture the unintended backpack in a greyhound bus terminal or something. but what we really need right now in this country is if you see something about somebody, to say something. and if they do, whether it is through statutes like the one in maine or through some other mechanism, that can be quite effective. and certainly, if more states were to adopt these laws, we would on our end through ncic have to make arrangements to then have that information in the relevant databases to be able to help prevent them from getting their hands on a weapon,
2:05 pm
but certainly, it's something we could look at. >> thank you. another proposal that i have long supported would strengthen federal law by making it easier for prosecutors to go after gun traffickers and straw purchasers. let me describe what i have seen and heard about in the state of maine from law enforcement officers. gangs and drug dealers target addicts who have clean records, so they then asked them to purchase guns for them, and they swap heroin or other drugs for the guns. these guns are then used to commit horrific crimes in our community, often far from maine. there was a gang in connecticut
2:06 pm
that was known for coming to maine, enlisting addicts to buy guns for them, because the addict's head clean records and they pass the background check. i once again join my colleagues senator lahey i am reintroducing the stop illegal trafficking and firearms act, and we would create a new criminal for straw purchasing. right now, it is essentially treated as a paperwork violation, a slap on the wrist. instead we would make these crimes punishable by time behind bars. what is your opinion of closing that straw purchaser loophole that allows for criminal gangs to access guns when they could not buy them themselves because
2:07 pm
of their own criminal records? mr. wray: i think i would have to study the legislation more closely to give you a more informed assessment. i will tell you that even back to when i was a line prosecutor, i used to prosecute a lot of these same straw purchaser cases. and typically, as you say, they are prosecuted as false statement cases in which somebody essentially lies on the 4473 form. just as you say, what you see is violent gang members who enlist people who are down on their luck, either they are addicts as you say, or they are financially in distress, and so the money that comes, when they get paid to be a straw purchaser, they take advantage of people who are down on their luck that way. i think there might be a difference in the culpability level for the straw purchaser
2:08 pm
versus the gang member who enlists them. that's when i tried those cases, that was the approach we took. but i think you're right to be focused on the straw purchaser issue as an important ingredient to preventing guns from getting into the hands of people who are, after all, prohibited under existing law from having them. >> right. i actually feel bad for many of the straw purchasers because they have a serious substance abuse problem and they are being manipulated and used by these gang members. but that is a real problem. let me follow up on the drug issue. as we know, america has set a terrible new record in the number of drug overdoses in the past year. it's 104,000 americans died of
2:09 pm
drug overdoses. in maine, an estimated six or 36,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2021. that is a 23% increase from the previous year. what, to me, is equally chilling is the fact that is actually only a small portion of the number of overdoses. the number of overdoses in maine that we know about was nearly 9000. fortunately, the rest of them were saved. i talked to attorney general garland about this issue, and he pointed out that the fbi along with other doj components, is playing on important role in fighting the large-scale drug trafficking organizations that
2:10 pm
are bringing drugs into this country. i am concerned about what is happening at the southern border based on my discussion with border control agents. has the government's inability to secure the southern border led to more drugs entering the united states? mr. wray: will certainly, the influx of drugs across the southern border is a), very important to not just to addiction in this country, but to violence in this country. that's one of the parts that the fbi plays a pretty big role in. transnational criminal organizations in mexico enlisting the help of gangs and other organizations here in the u.s. to distribute the drugs. and there's violence over turf,
2:11 pm
distribution routes, etc. when i've been down to the border and talked to the cpp folks there and to our field officers that have responsibility over that area, the quantity of the seizures that they routinely are engaged in, make the seizures in other parts of the country look really quite small by comparison. it is just another day in the life are a lot of them. so, it's striking. and i think you are correct that the overdose death statistic, or the overdoses statistic itself, in some ways, underestimates the scope of the problem. in part, because narcan, happily, has become so widely available. that, in turn, ends up almost masking the problem. the effectiveness of first response, which is a good thing, is actually may be misleading some into thinking that the
2:12 pm
problem is not as bad as it really is. and it's really an epidemic. >> finally, just a quick question. you are talking about domestic terrorism with senator cap joe -- caputo, would you agree that the sources of domestic terrorism include groups and ideologies on the left, on the right, from overseas such as isis, in other words, it is not just one ideological source of domestic terrorism, is there? mr. wray: certainly, when we look at domestic terrorism, we focus on the violence. we are sort of ideology agnostic, if you will. the domestic terrorism threat we see covers the waterfront. we don't use terms like left and right, but we see the racially motivated violent extremists, we
2:13 pm
see militia violence and anarchist violence, we see people with this salad bar of ideologies that don't fit into any category. and then of course, we tend to bucket on the international terrorism side, they are not sent by isis, but they are radicalized online and they are here. that is a huge category. the plot to kill former president bush is a good example of that threat. so, i think i understand the focus on ideology, but for us, the focus has to be on the violence to make sure that we are not missing something. >> and that's where it should be. thank you very much. >> thank you senator collins. senator brown. >> thank you, madam chair.
2:14 pm
good to have you back again. i want to go back to, i think i asked mr. garland, some of the elves, this question, go back to summer 2020. there was a lot of crime in our cities. what i've been hearing mostly about would be the arrests we have made associated with january 6. so, can you give me some kind of accounting in terms of all the various incidents which occurred across our big cities, but crime in the streets where we ended up with more people killed, lots of downtown businesses burned and damaged, have we been as diligent there as we have on the january 6 issue? and just give me a general accounting, i know that we have arrested over 700 individuals
2:15 pm
associated with it, what have we accomplished from what was something maybe even broader in scope, in terms of damage and lives lost? mr. wray: i don't have exact numbers for you here. what i will tell you is the violence amidst all the civil unrest over the summer of 2020, we used all 56 of our field offices, we used our joint terrorism task forces, and often, there were hundreds of investigations, hundreds of arrests. now, i should pause on that last part because often there is, as you know, a federal domestic terrorism offence. a lot of times with our joint terrorism task forces, part of the reason for that is our most
2:16 pm
effective charge is a state charge. a lot of times, the federal investigations from some of the activity over that summer resulted ultimately, in a state charge. we had any number of cases involving molotov cocktails, burning and firebombing police cars, things like that. and we continue, they don't get a lot of attention in the press, but we continue to develop cases and bring charges still from some of the activity back then. so we have not taken our foot off the gas on those cases. >> got that. i didn't know if you had that information. i'd like to know with a little more specificity, and you can get back with the office later in terms of what that kind of comparison would be, in terms of arrests and convictions based on january 6 versus the whole spectrum of what occurred back in the summer of 2020, if you would. mr. wray: i'll see which weaken
2:17 pm
that -- what we can get you on that. >> tragically, we have had another shooting occur. i am interested in the mental health component. i am interested in whether it is racially motivated, whether it is just somebody that is out to create havoc like just occurred, what are we doing that takes information, that in many cases, is broadcast as aggressively as being in a manifesto. maybe not that direct, but we pick up all was after-the-fact fact, that there has been some telegraphing of what might happen. so, are we doing what you think needs to be done to kind of figure out what might occur when we find out after the fact that there has certainly been information out there, from as
2:18 pm
obvious as a manifesto, to maybe a lot of indications that this could happen? are you happy with what law enforcement is doing across the board, especially the fbi? mr. wray: well, i am very proud of the hard work of the men and women of law enforcement. not just fbi, our state and local partners, who bear the primary burden for a lot of what you are talking about. i will say that there is no shortage of hateful information out there on the internet, and social media in different forms. and we, the fbi, don't just go out and kind of monitor social media actively looking for stuff. we rely on proper predication and then pursue it. what that gets back to is the change with senator collins about the importance of having the public come forward.
2:19 pm
i use the saying that used to be applied in a different context, if you see something, say something. what we need, what law enforcement needs, is the public, neighbors, schoolteachers, relatives, friends, classmates, whoever, the people who are likely to see somebody's behavior online, and see a change from just being somebody just blowing off steam, to taking a bit of a turn. that is often the same person who would know this person is not only taken a really dark turn, but this person i know, this member of the public has weapons in his or her home, and calling law enforcement. when that happens, that is when we are most effective. and we need to encourage more and more of that. which is why our public access line gets millions of tips a year, and we are frantically trying to push those out when we get them. >> i think whatever observation
2:20 pm
tools you use, whatever algorithms might be in place, it's kind of disappointing that so often we hear that was there, and we just needed to do a better job. may i have another few seconds for a quick question? i was on a school board for 10 years, and i could not get in my school as a school board member, because we had a security system in place that had to allow you in. and i think we had a resource officer there in texas at that school. what is the fbi's viewpoint on taking soft targets like a school to where seemingly we rotate into a tragedy too often, to where having that in place, why do we have more of it? and we had this in place in indiana, in my own school district 12 years ago. wired we doing more there?
2:21 pm
mr. wray: a lot of those are judgments by individual school systems and school boards that may be based on resources, other things. we, on the fbi side, have tried to help lighten the awareness of things they can do to better harden the schools. we have put out psa's, videos, about to better harden the school, the environment. there is a lot of thinking that has improved in law enforcement and security over the last 10 or 15 years about the best way to protect an otherwise soft target like a school. so we are really trying to get the word out so they can have the information they need to take some of those actions. as to why an individual school may or may not have chosen a particular security measure, that probably depends on the school system. >> thank you, senator graham? >> thank you, director, very
2:22 pm
much for coming. the budget request is how much percent over last year? mr. wray: i don't have the percentage for you right now. we didn't get quite what we had hoped for last year. >> mr. chairman, what is that number? do we know? >> 6%. >> with inflation. too hot. more than 6%. i think so. the budget request for the fbi's below inflation, do you agree with that? >> sorry? >> the budget request for the fbi's below inflation. and we are listening to you, and everything you say is a legitimate concern, you have a lot to do, do you think the committee should look at increasing your budget? mr. wray: let me say, i appreciate the question.
2:23 pm
i would say that any additional resources the committee would see fit to send our way, i can absolutely assure you and the rest of subcommittee, they will be put to good use. >> great. i don't want to ask you to comment on an ongoing investigation, but apparently there was a plot to kill bush 43, are you familiar with it? let's just make this comment. is it fair to say that al qaeda and isis still exist? mr. wray: absolutely. >> are there people thinking every day about how to get into america to kill a bunch of us from this organization? mr. wray: yes. >> and the fbi is integral in stopping those plots before they start? mr. wray: yes. >> would you say after afghanistan the threats to our home and has gone up or down? mr. wray: let me say this about the threat. we are concerned, very concerned, about what the threat
2:24 pm
landscape looks like in the wake of the withdrawal from afghanistan for a number of reasons. one, we're concerned about the loss of sources over there. mr. wray: there are no fbi agent in afghanistan? mr. wray: not anymore. or at least, i hope not. so, we are concerned about lesson source coverage over time, and i think director burns has testified just as a matter of fact, that we will lose -- >> our withdrawal has made us a lot less aware of the threat coming from afghanistan than before we withdrew? mr. wray: yes. >> and maybe the influence of isis in afghanistan is growing? mr. wray: it is certainly present, and we are concerned about them growing. >> let's switch to domestic terrorism. is there any law that you need that you don't have when it comes to investigating domestic terrorism? mr. wray: we always welcome more
2:25 pm
tools in the toolbox, but we, i think, have been very effective with the tools that we have. as i said to senator brown, using state charges when appropriate. we have gotten creative in using hate crime charges and things like that as well. what we really need are more resources. >> count me in for more resources to help you deal with this threat as well as other threats. gun control. do you know of any system, apparently the fact pattern as i understand it now, the person in texas who did this horrible thing had no criminal record. how would the system deal with somebody that has never been charged with a crime, never been designated for a crime, went out and bought a gun, what kind of law would stop that? mr. wray: well, we don't know all the facts yet.
2:26 pm
but depending on the individual, there are other prohibit or' -- prohibitors -- >> is there something we can do to deal with this particular situation that we are not doing? mr. wray: there is no one single, simple answer -- >> i am open-minded to ideas. you have been following the assessment trial, i would assume. well he is in trial, but let me just ask you this question, a lot of americans have been concerned with the back that a campaign lawyer from the clinton campaign could go to the fbi and provide information that led to an investigation of the opposite party, that seems to have not help much water. can you understand why people would be concerned about that? mr. wray: i certainly understand why people are concerned. >> and the review of the
2:27 pm
[indiscernible] you are aware of his findings, inspector general? this is your chance to tell the american people that never will happen again, and you are dedicated to making sure that there are no more investigations that seem to gone completely off the rails? mr. wray: i will put the assessment case to the side for the moment, because i don't want to comment in front of the jury right now. but let me say this, the conduct that is described in the inspector general's report, i consider to be utterly unacceptable and also unrepresentative of the fbi that i see every day. my firm instructions to our people are that we need to make sure that never happens again. and we have implemented over 40 corrective measures that go directly to the things described in that report. we've made changes of the entire
2:28 pm
leadership team in the fbi, and the fbi that i see today i am 2022, is very different from what is described in that report. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator graham. i have another round of westerns, -- questions, and i assume you do as well. i want to talk about something we discussed on the phone this week, that is the whole task force klepto catcher and what we might do to address russian officials and oligarchs' circu mvention of sanctions and export restrictions, but also, what needs to happen to address the ability of transnational crime organizations, corrupt officials in places like russia, from being able to park their money
2:29 pm
in our financial system and the united states and the west? and what we need to do to prevent that? and i want to start with the fact that we have provided the fbi with over $43 million in supplemental funding for the task force klepto cap sure as part of the 2022 omnibus. can you talk a little about how you are using that funding, and what else we ought to be thinking about, as we look at how to address the ability of criminals to use our financial system for their own benefit? mr. wray: well, first let me say that those who have been profiting from corruption in russia and treating the world like it is their playground are people that we are coming after. and working closely with partners not just across the federal government, but a whole host of foreign partners.
2:30 pm
the new klepto capture task fo rce is really at the heart of that effort. we have had some success already in freezing bank accounts, luxury yachts, artwork, things like that. sometimes that's through enabling the fbi provides information to a foreign partner, they are able to take action to seize or freeze, sometimes it is using our own authorities. sometimes we are going after, and it goes to something you and i talked about on the phone, it goes to not just the oligarchs' sanctions themselves, but the whole ecosystem they rely on. the people they may have on their payroll, the people that enable them to engage in corruption and sanctions evasion. that's an important part. as to the $43 million you are
2:31 pm
furtive, for which we are very grateful, we are using that in a variety of ways. some of it is going to our cyber efforts and our counterintelligence efforts related to the russia-ukraine conflict. but we are using a part for our agents on the klepto capture task force, as well as our pursuit of the cryptocurrency, because that's an important ingredient for a lot of the bad actors here. many of them think that they can hide behind the anonymous asian that exists -- anonymization that exists with virtual currency, but we have to enhance our own tradecraft to go after them. and we have made significant seizures of cryptocurrency lately working with the department of justice, and that is going to be an increasingly important part of this going forward. >> so, what's been the biggest obstacle in trying to address
2:32 pm
activity, particularly with respect to russia and the war in ukraine, and sanctions? mr. wray: i think i would say the biggest challenge that we face is a lot of these folks are pretty savvy about relying on opaque other foreign jurisdictions. so there are ways in which, by taking advantage of some of those other systems, they are able to make it more challenging for us to follow the money, and get after the money. not necessarily impossible. and there's a role here for diplomacy, state department, treasury department and others in engaging with some of those foreign partners to work better with us to help make sure we have clamped down on the system. >> any particular entities that you would like to name? mr. wray: i think the state
2:33 pm
department would probably appreciate it if i did not name specific countries i am an open hearing -- in an open hearing. mr. wray: we are-- >> we are cooperating with the international community, and i have heard some officials that there are entities that may be part of other countries where countries have cracked down in country, but those entities where they still have significant interests may not have provided the same kind of crackdown, i'm being pretty opaque here in the way i am describing it. mr. wray: opaque is the right
2:34 pm
word both for the way we have to talk about it, but for what is in these countries. i will say, there have been quite a number of countries where we have gotten more cooperation than we might have in years past. so i don't want to make it sound to blake. we have had a number of partners who have taken more aggressive action then historically, we have seen, and that is a measure of the international community being so appalled by what russia is up to in the rain -- ukraine. >> thank you. senator moran. >> let me talk about the surging increase in violent crime. i believe two of the most effective ways to address violent crime are through surging fbi resources to the most affected committees through a joint local, federal task force, such as a streets task force. you and i heard the commentary from law enforcement, local and state, when we are together in march in kansas.
2:35 pm
i understand that as of may, early may, the fbi surge resources in six field offices, and secured significant arrests and firearm seizures from violent criminals. is the fbi considering additional resource surges during the coming year or existing -- expanding its existing task force and work? -- network? mr. wray: i think what you are referring to is a new team that i created about six months or so ago, which is called our violent crime rapid deployment teams. and what that does is we have been sending it to particularly hard-hit hotspots, or cities, at the embrace or request of both the fbi field office and our local partners to assist. and we have had very good luck in the six or so cities where we have done that. in buffalo, for example, several months ago, we had about a 50%
2:36 pm
decrease in homicides during a surge. in milwaukee, i think we had a pretty significant decrease. but that, by its very nature, is somewhat temporary. we can to send those teams just to be there in perpetuity. part of what we are trying to do is both achieve a short-term dramatic reduction by listening closely to the locals as to what they most need, but then also trying to put in place things that will have a more sustained, durable impact that will outlive the team's deployment. we expect to continue that model, to keep sending that team to different places. but ultimately, as you and i discussed recently, this is a problem, the violent crime problem, that dominates every conversation i have with chiefs and sheriffs all the time.
2:37 pm
our last nationwide data is a 5% increase in the violent crime rate, which doesn't sound like much to some americans, until you stop and think that means 67,000 victims of violent crime that were not a victim the year before. and the homicide rate went up 30%, the highest increase in 50 years. so, any resources be subcommittee would be able to send us on the violent crime problem could immediately be put to very effective use, and there would be a lot of state and local partners who would be grateful as well. because one of the things we are really trying to do all across the country's lean in to see where we can take cases federally, to take some of the worst of the worst, and dismantle some of the most significant gangs and keep them off the streets for a much longer period of time. >> let me explore just a minute longer, the idea of surging.
2:38 pm
the point you make is a good one. anyone whose life is saved or property is not stolen because of a surge, that's a valuable thing. but what we need is longer-term results from that surge. so, is there something that happens structurally, and first of all, we are getting more guns out of the hands of people who are not entitled to have them, i would assume, and we are causing more criminals likely to commit violent crimes to be incarcerated, those ought to have some longer-lasting effect rather than just the additional amount of time your resources are in the community. mr. wray: you are exactly right. the two key concepts here, partnership and intelligence. partnership meaning it has got to be a team effort. how do we put the fbi together with the state and local law enforcement partners, the atf, dea, and have it people more
2:39 pm
than four? how to get a synergy where the whole is greater than the parts. so partnership is key. the second piece, intelligence, when you hear intelligence, what you should take away, and what americans should take away, is better understanding the problem in order to prioritize going after the things really driving the violent crime in order to have a longer-lasting impact. that might mean identifying particular gangs that are wreaking havoc on a neighborhood. it could mean a particular neighborhood that is disproportionately being fought over between two gangs. it could be any number of things. but you get good intelligence, and then the partnership acts on good intelligence with a strategy, that's how you get an impact that lasts longer. >> i'd be interested in knowing, director, if there is any characteristics about the communities that have the most
2:40 pm
significant increases in violent crime, the most prevalent violent crime. when you focus your efforts on a particular community, what is the common known nominator -- denominator among those committees, and then we can perhaps deal with the underlying reason why a community is experiencing that increase. mr. wray: you know, violent crime is by its nature, unfortunately, a little bit different everywhere. that is why we have to take a not one-size-fits-all. what i mean by that is in one community it might be a particular neighborhood gang that has just run amok. and if you really drill down, you may find that the homicide rate is being disproportionately driven by that one gang's act ivity. in another community, there could be a rampage of commercial robberies or carjackings, and that is what is driving it. in another place, it could be a
2:41 pm
particular neighborhood, or corridor on a highway, that is part of a drug trafficking route. in another place, and this is something we are seeing in a lot of places, too many repeat, dangerous offenders who are either out on bail, or who have not been serving very long sentences. and the only thing more frustrating to law enforcement than having to arrest somebody, is having to arrest the same person over and over again. >> that's a good point. that's something that can be pursued. that's a concrete path that can be advanced. one more topic. in september of last year, you testified before the senate judiciary committee that the fbi's failure for its mishandling of its larry nassar investigation was quote, inexcusable. it never should have happened, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it never
2:42 pm
happens again. could you please provide me with an update on where those -- where that implementation of those recommendations stands? mr. wray: i'd be happy to provide it in writing afterwards , if that would be helpful. i think we implemented all of them quite a while ago. and certainly, we took disciplinary action against the one agent who is still with the fbi, once we learned what had happened. and, it's hard for me to explain to you how angry and upset i was when i learned what the fbi did and failed to do back in 2015. but i'm determined to make it right now that i am here, and we are going to make sure that everybody in the fbi learns the
2:43 pm
lessons from that. >> i appreciate that. our committee and the subcommittee spent a year and a half exploring, investigating and providing recommendations for legislation that became law. we share that frustration, that anger, about how everyone who should have done something, didn't do it well, or didn't do anything. and, as i think you would agree, we would expect the fbi to be among the most purist in their willingness to respond to somebody in need. it is a terribly sad circumstance. we await the department of justice making decisions about what to do in regard to those individuals. mr. wray: on that part, that's really between the inspector general and the department of justice. >> i wasn't suggesting, it's a question i asked the attorney general, but i wanted to highlight it for when he reviews
2:44 pm
your testimony, he will know that he has been questioned once again about this topic. >> thank you very much for raising that issue. director wray, if you send the response to senator moran, i hope you will share it with the members of the committee, because a lot of people on the committee are concerned about it. your final exchange before that issue raised a question for me, because you are talking about federal crimes that you are investigating. as we know, the top law-enforcement official in our states when it comes to federal crimes are u.s. attorneys. and i have been very troubled by the delay in getting u.s. attorneys in place across this country. i just wondered if you could speak to what happens if we don't have somebody in that role , if we have some but he who is just acting, -- somebody who is just acting, or a u.s. attorney
2:45 pm
has not officially been put in place to take charge in those investigations, and what kind of challenges that presents as you try to bring a case before court. mr. wray: i want to be a little bit careful here. what i would say is the acting u.s. attorneys around the country, in my experience, are some of the most dedicated, seasoned, most capable prosecutors, federal prosecutors out there. i know a number of them personally, and i have an enormous respect for them. having said that, it is helpful to a u.s. attorney's office and to the law enforcement community, to have a senate confirmed, presidentially appointed u.s. attorney because at least, in some districts, that is what is required for important initiatives to be pursued for a sometimes
2:46 pm
important personnel changes to be made in an office. having served in a u.s. attorney's office, and been an assistant u.s. attorney general in my previous time in government, i know that there is a level of ability to take action on certain kinds of things that i think is a little easier certainly, for a permanent u.s. attorney. but i also want to be very clear that i think the acting u.s. attorneys that are out there are doing a terrific job, and they are working well with our field offices. >> i appreciate that. and i appreciate the import -- importance of reinforcing the job those acting u.s. attorneys are doing. i just argued that when we are facing a lot of challenges with respect to increased criminal activity, that having the top decision-maker in those offices
2:47 pm
is really critical, and we need to urge the administration to move those people, if they haven't been nominated. and members of the senate to approve them, so we can get people in place, so we have everybody on the ground we need in order to address the challenges when it comes to crime. >> i would make this bipartisan, please. i would join the chairwoman in making the request to the administration. and i would urge the senate to nominate expeditiously. >> thank you very much, director wray. if there are no further questions, senators may submit official questions for the
2:48 pm
official hearing record. we request the fbi responds in 30 days. this subcommittee stands in recess subject to the call of the chair. thank you. [gavels] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2022] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [indistinct conversation]
2:49 pm
>> the president and first lady are in uvalde to pay respects to victims of the deadly mass shooting. the first visit was a memorial site at robb elementary school were 19 children and two teachers were killed on tuesday. [applause]

13 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on