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Tipsheet

‘Wake Up, It Is a Time to Be Concerned’: FBI Director Wray Issues Stark Warning at Committee Hearing

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

In a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray provided some worrying — if not outright alarming — answers to questions from U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) regarding current terrorist threats against the homeland.

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"What has now increased is the greater possibility of one of these foreign terrorist organizations directing an attack in the United States," Wray told senators on the committee. "We haven't seen evidence that it's actually happening yet, but what we have seen is — and I listed them off in my opening remarks — one terrorist organization after another calling for attacks," he explained. "We should wake up, it is a time to be concerned — we are in a dangerous period."

Below is Wray's opening on the FBI's assessment that "the actions of Hamas and its allies will serve as an inspiration, the likes of which we haven't seen since ISIS launched its so-called caliphate several years ago."

Given that sobering assessment and emphasis on the need to be "concerned" about the "dangerous" situation the U.S. homeland is in regarding potential terrorist attacks, Sen. Scott asked whether the FBI is able to track threats and prevent terrorist attacks within the United States. 

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"I couldn't say that we're able to detect all individuals," Wray replied. "The people that we know about — as Secretary Rumsfeld used to say, 'the known known' — we're quite good at, together with our partners. But it is 'the unknown unknown' that I worry about quite a bit," he revealed.

Since, as Wray said, the FBI is unable to "detect all individuals," Sen. Scott followed up by asking whether the FBI is aware of any terrorist organizations operating in the United States at present. Again, Wray's answer was less than reassuring.

"Well, we're not tracking that," Wray responded. "But again, I can point back to what it is — the gaps in our intelligence are real and it's something that we have concerns about." 

Gee, maybe there ought to be a lot more concern about these "gaps" in FBI intelligence that Wray said means his agency isn't "tracking" whether terrorist groups are currently operating in the United States? And maybe less FBI effort on hunting down concerned parents who spoke up at school board meetings or pro-life activists who wouldn't hurt a fly?

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After doing anything but reassure Americans that the FBI is working or able to protect the homeland from terrorists, Sen. Scott asked what Wray's message to concerned citizens would be.

"This is not a time for panic, but it is a time for vigilance," Wray said after explaining the serious issues with the FBI's ability to track terrorists or prevent an attack. "We shouldn't stop conducting our daily lives, going to schools, houses of worship, and so forth, but we should be vigilant," he warned. 

"You often hear the expression, 'if you see something, say something,'" Wray reminded. "That's never been more true than now, and that's probably partly why the American people are reporting more tips and leads to us — and we're pursuing those threats and leads as vigorously and responsibly as we can," Wray said in an attempt to reassure Americans. 

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