FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s information regarding the potential threat of neo-nazism, in what is his first public appearance since the Jan. 6th riot.
The January 6th Capitol Hill Riots were a series of occupied protests by Trump-supporters and Republicans that was overtaken by right-wing extremists and other ethnic-nationalist militias. In these riots, many stormed inside the capitol building. However, when militia members and fanatacal fans began rioting inside the capitol, police acted to disperse the crowd. Thus, when violence began to form, shots were fired and the events ended with 5 individuals dead and reportedly millions of dollars in damage fees.
Since then, nearly 280 people have been arrested and 300 people have been charged with connection to the riots. Today, FBI Director Wray spoke on the causes of the riot and the federal armed forces’ failure to react to such a riot. The most pressed issue, however, at the hearing was regarding how the nation can act to “counter the danger posed by far-right violent extremists.” The Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin, expressed a common sentiment for the committee– that of a necessity to stop right wing extremists– in saying, “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 continued, suggesting that the FBI had allowed the rise of such groups, saying “I was surprised to learn the FBI did not issue a threat assessment before January 6th.” Durbin and the committee repeatedly brought up posts on social media that warned of an “impending war in Washington,” to which Wray said was “raw information” that was just not enough. Yet, as Wray noted, such information was delivered to the D.C. Federal Protection Agency. Lastly, Wray made clear that most individuals involved in the riots were largely involved in the web of Neo-Nazi organizations– most of which were centralized in California, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Thus, he dispelled the rumor that ‘fake protesters,’ who were said to be AntiFa members, were present at the riot.
Wray warned the committee that the capitol riot was “not an isolated incident” and the threat of Neo-Nazism and the terrorist action that was tied to it was and is a growing threat. Wray added in saying that the American people were the greatest allies in aiding the FBI identify hundreds of people with nearly 300,000 digital tips. The last point made by Wray, and likely his most important, was that the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Senate would be acting to stop Neo-Nazism. While it’s clear that the majority of Americans condemn the vile beliefs and practices of Neo-Nazis, not all are on board with the idea of ‘declaring war’ on American citizens. Meanwhile, others have claimed that the exclusive and violent behavior displayed by these groups for minorities – and those who choose to associate themselves with such groups – deserves punishment.
ARTICLE: CARSON WOLF
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE NEW YORK TIMES