FBI director admits southern border is a terrorism risk

 December 7, 2023

FBI director Chrisopher Wray conceded that foreign terrorists could "exploit" the southern border to hurt Americans, as illegal crossings hit record highs under President Biden. 

During questioning from the Senate Judiciary Committee, Wray said the threat of international terrorism has spiked since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7.

Southern border WARNING

He admitted the southern border is a "concern," noting that known or suspected terrorists have been crossings at higher rates in recent years. Border crossings hit a daily record on Tuesday, surpassing 12,000.

"Obviously, their ability to exploit any port of entry, including our southwest border, is a source of concern," he said.

"There is a lot of discussion about numbers, and numbers are important. But let’s not forget that it didn’t take a big number of people on 9/11 to kill 3,000 people. While numbers are important, numbers don’t tell the whole story," he said.

Republicans have accused Biden of leaving Americans vulnerable to drug trafficking and terrorism by failing to secure the border.

“We’ve found enough fentanyl to kill 80% of the American people?” asked Ranking Member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

“That’s just in the last two years,” Wray responded, adding that some fentanyl wasn't caught.

FBI faces skepticism from Republicans

Wray's focus on foreign terrorism was a change of pace after years of dire warnings about "domestic extremism" from President Biden, Director Wray, and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Republicans say Biden has exaggerated the threat of homegrown terrorism by labeling Trump supporters dangerous and extreme.

During questioning from Lindsey Graham, Wray said he sees "blinking red lights everywhere."

The urgent warning could be seen as an attempt to fend off pressure from Republicans calling to rein in or abolish the FBI, which many have accused of targeting conservatives.

Wray is pushing Congress to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows warrantless surveillance of foreigners - and Americans who are in contact with them.

At Tuesday's hearing, Wray was pushed on the FBI's infamous memo targeting "radical traditionalist Catholics." He also faced tough questioning from Republicans skeptical of the FBI's promises not to abuse its surveillance authority.

"We have no reason to trust you because you haven't behaved in a manner that is trustworthy," Senator Mike Lee (UT) told Wray.

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