WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before U.S. Senators Tuesday for the first time since the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, saying the agency is working tireless to arrest those involved but also warning that the problem is much bigger than that day.
He said the FBI has already made cases against nearly 300 people.
“(There are) more subjects being identified and charged just about every single day,” Wray said.
But he also told senators the riot highlights a pervasive and growing problem: the threat of homegrown terror. He said the number of domestic terrorism investigations his agency has opened in recent months has soared to roughly 2,000. Violent white extremists like those who stormed the Capitol now make up the bulk of threats, he added.
“Jan. 6 was not an isolated event,” he said. “The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now and it’s not going anyway anytime soon.”
After Wray pointed out that there is no legal designation for domestic terrorist groups, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said it may be time for that to change.
“I don’t know if we should have one or not, but I think it’s time to think about it,” Graham said.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said it’s crucial to take the threat seriously and stop ignoring warning signs.
“For too long, our federal government has failed to address the growing terrorist menace in our own backyard,” he said.
Wray insisted the FBI is tracking threats and warned Capitol Police days before the riot.
“You think it’s enough just to send an email?” wondered Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
“It’s more than just an email,” Wray responded. “Having said that, I do not consider what happened on Jan. 6 to be an acceptable result and that’s why we’re looking so far at figuring out how can the process be improved.”
While Wray, Republicans and even some Democrats noted violence has stemmed from both ends of the political spectrum, Wray also debunked conspiracy theories that the attack was orchestrated by groups like antifa or Black Lives Matter. He said the FBI has uncovered no evidence of fake Trump protesters.