Foreign terrorist organizations can exploit the southwest border as the United States faces the highest risk of an attack following the Hamas onslaught in Israel, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray. The FBI chief revealed that terrorist threats to the nation have skyrocketed since October during testimony this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In his prepared statement Wray failed to include the dire security threats created by the Biden administration’s disastrous open border policies. The crucial information only surfaced and became part of the official record because a Republican lawmaker grilled Wray about it.
The hearing, called “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” touched on the agency’s mission to tackle grave threats and ensure the safety and security of communities throughout the nation. Wray’s prepared statement covered what the FBI is doing to address the threats while adhering to the highest of standards. “As we saw in early October with the devastating attack in Israel, terrorist actors are still very intent on using violence and brutality to spread their ideologies,” Wray told the committee. “Protecting the American people from terrorism remains the FBI’s number one priority. The threat from terrorism is as persistent and complex as ever. We are in an environment where the threats from international terrorism, domestic terrorism, and state-sponsored terrorism are all simultaneously elevated.” The FBI director identified “lone actors or small cells of individuals who typically radicalize to violence online” as the greatest terrorism threat to the homeland.
He mentioned the FBI’s concern about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the intent of groups such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida to carry out or inspire large-scale attacks in the U.S. Wray also spoke about cybercriminal syndicates that compromise our networks and foreign intelligence threats such as China, Russia and Iran, which are more aggressive and capable than ever. Violent crimes and gang activities—including robbery, human trafficking, drug and gun trafficking, fraud, extortion and prostitution rings—also made the list as did Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) characterized by families that exert influence over criminal activities in neighborhoods, cities or states. The FBI chief also delved into crimes against children, revealing that every year thousands of kids are kidnapped, violently attacked, sexually abused or trafficked. He closed by asking Congress to reauthorize a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) created after 9/11 that allows the U.S. government to collect the communications of foreigners outside the country without a warrant. Wray thanked the committee and took questions.
If not for the question-and-answer portion of the hearing the FBI director would have completely omitted the illegal immigration crisis along the southwest border as a security threat to the country. The information surfaced during an exchange with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Graham said: “One of my concerns is after [the withdrawal from] Afghanistan, we put international terrorism on steroids. Are you concerned that international terrorism threats to the homeland are rising as the [southern] border continues to be broken?” Wray responded: “I am concerned that we are in… a heightened threat environment from foreign terrorist organizations for a whole host of reasons and obviously their ability to exploit any port of entry, including our southwest border… We have seen an increase in so-called KSTs, ‘known or suspected terrorists’, attempting to cross over the last five years.” Wray added that the “threat level has gone to a whole other level since October 7.”