By ALEXANDER MALLIN and LUKE BARR, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — FBI Director Christopher Wray will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday in his first appearance before Congress since the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection, as the bureau faces scrutiny over whether it properly shared intelligence leading up to the assault as well as its broader role in addressing the nation’s domestic terror crisis.
Wray has not spoken publicly about the Capitol siege since a Jan. 15 appearance alongside then-Vice President Mike Pence, amid heightened fears that President Joe Biden’s inauguration would be the target of a possible attack.
The FBI at the time had already identified 200 suspects in the bureau’s sweeping investigation of the riot, Wray said, and warned those who had yet to turn themselves over to authorities.
“We know who you are, if you’re out there, and FBI agents are coming to find you,” Wray said.
That number has more than doubled since Wray’s last public appearance, with the bureau opening more than 400 case files against individuals involved in the Jan. 6 assault, according to the Justice Department. More than 300 individuals have been charged so far in connection to the Jan. 6 attack, according to the Justice Department, with over 280 arrested in what officials described as an investigation moving at “unprecedented” speed and scale.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, told reporters on Monday that Wray is the “man of the hour.”
“The head of the FBI has not appeared before the committee for an oversight hearing since July of 2019. There are many questions. And certainly, at the top of the list, there are threats to America today that we need to put in as a priority. I think domestic terrorism, religious and racial based hate groups have become a major threat in America. I want to know if our intelligence operations have taken this into consideration in establishing their priorities,” Durbin said.
Last week, acting deputy attorney general John Carlin and senior DOJ and FBI officials provided the first update in more than a month on the DOJ’s investigation into the Capitol riot, and sought to outline the department’s broader mission in the coming months to address the domestic terror threat facing the country.
A senior FBI official said the primary terrorism threat to the U.S. homeland remains the “lone offender,” including homegrown violent extremists and domestic violent extremists who are primarily radicalized online and plot to attack soft targets with readily available weapons.
The FBI currently has open domestic terrorism investigations across all 56 of its field offices around the country, the official said.
Wray will likely be pressed on whether the FBI sufficiently shared information with its law enforcement partners in advance of the assault on the Capitol.
In a congressional hearing last week, former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund argued his force was not properly alerted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies about specific threats to the Capitol in advance of the attack.
Sund said he wasn’t privy to information from an FBI Norfolk field office bulletin on Jan. 5 that warned of “war” at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6.
Robert Contee, the chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, said that his phone is on 24/7 and is available to take any call and the fact that the FBI bulletin from Norfolk came through email after 7 p.m. is not excusable.
In front of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, last week, acting Capitol Police Yogananda Pittman also detailed the threats to President Joe Biden’s next joint address to Congress.
“We know that members of the militia groups that were present on Jan. 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union, which we know that date has not been identified,” she testified Thursday. “So, based on that information we think that it’s prudent that Capitol Police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward.”
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