Testifying publicly for the primary time since pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol almost two months in the past, Wray was pressed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin on whether or not the FBI has seen any proof that people concerned within the January 6 assault had been posing as Trump supporters — a declare the Illinois Democrat known as “the next big lie.”
“We have not seen evidence of that, at this stage, certainly,” Wray responded when Durbin requested if he had seen any proof the riot was organized by “fake Trump protesters,” referring to feedback Johnson made throughout a Senate listening to final week wherein he additionally claimed these concerned within the assault had been “agents provocateurs.”
Most Republicans on the panel didn’t embrace these conspiracies, however the baseless declare that left-wing infiltrators had been chargeable for the violent assault has been promoted by Trump’s impeachment attorneys, a number of GOP lawmakers and at the least one speaker on the Conservative Political Action Conference final week.
On Tuesday, Wray made clear that Antifa and different left-wing teams weren’t a part of the violence on January 6, which he known as “domestic terrorism” — whilst a number of Republicans sought to make use of the listening to as a chance to spotlight the risk posed by these teams reasonably than concentrate on the Capitol assault.
“We have not, to date, seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to Antifa in connection to the 6th,” Wray informed the Senate committee.
More than 260 defendants — lots of them professing allegiance to Trump, disgust for Congress, and supportive of revolution — have been charged in federal courtroom associated to their actions in and across the US Capitol siege on January 6.
Previously, almost a dozen Trump supporters charged in reference to the US Capitol rebel have mentioned that Antifa and different left-wing teams weren’t concerned within the assault, additional debunking the conspiracy amongst Trump supporters.
Wray pressed on ‘Norfolk memo’
While federal legislation enforcement officers have sought to reassure the American public within the months because the riot that they’re as much as the duty on each fronts, their public remarks additionally lay naked the enormity of the problem they face in monitoring potential threats to not solely the nation’s capital, however throughout the nation.
Law enforcement officers have indicated to Source that authorities missed key indicators forward of the siege, which left 5 useless and the Capitol ransacked, and the FBI’s preparations main as much as the day of the assault have come below scrutiny.
On Tuesday, Wray defended the FBI’s sharing of vital details about potential threats to the Capitol forward of January 6, together with its dealing with of the “Norfolk memo,” which has grow to be central to questions on whether or not legislation enforcement companies defending the Capitol had sufficient sound intelligence earlier than the siege to organize.
Wray described how the FBI shared an intelligence report about on-line chatter earlier than January 6 shortly, in 3 ways with different legislation enforcement companies, after receiving the knowledge from the FBI’s Norfolk area workplace.
His solutions to at the least three senators’ questions on Tuesday concerning the Norfolk report fill out the place and the way the intelligence was shared, and stands in distinction to testimony final week from legislation enforcement chiefs across the Capitol who largely blamed safety failures on an absence of intelligence that had been communicated.
The Norfolk report was handed to legislation enforcement companions, Wray mentioned, together with the Capitol Police and metro police inside an hour of it being acquired.
It was shared in 3 ways: an electronic mail to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a verbal command submit briefing within the Washington area workplace and at FBI headquarters that concerned police in DC, and thru the legislation enforcement portal, in keeping with Wray.
“In a perfect world we would have taken longer to figure out whether it was reliable, but we made the judgment, our folks made the judgment to get that information to the relevant people as quickly as possible, like I said, three different ways, in order to leave as little as possible to chance,” Wray mentioned.
Wray known as the memo “raw, unverified, uncorroborated information” that had been gathered from on-line posts, however was notable sufficient for the FBI to share with police in Washington virtually instantly. “It’s more than just an email,” Wray mentioned.
Wray didn’t see the Norfolk report till after the sixth, he added.
“As to why the information didn’t flow to people in all the departments … I don’t have an answer for that,” he mentioned later.
FBI gaining intelligence via arrests
Charging paperwork proceed to disclose new details about the extremists who took half within the US Capitol assault, together with members of right-wing militant teams who prosecutors have charged with conspiracy-related crimes.
Yet lawmakers have indicated they continue to be much less clear on the risk some of these people proceed to pose and have unsuccessfully pressed legislation enforcement officers to justify the heightened safety posture on Capitol Hill.
A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson informed Source final month that officers aren’t at the moment monitoring any “credible or specific threats,” however proceed to continually monitor on-line chatter about potential violence in Washington, DC, and in opposition to members of Congress.
Wray mentioned Tuesday the FBI is “always looking to develop more and better sources” to fight home terrorism and counterterrorism threats, however the important thing to gaining intelligence is thru arrests.
He additionally informed lawmakers that claims the extra arrests the FBI makes, “the more from those cases we learn about who else their contacts are, what their tactics are, what their strategies are … and that makes us smarter and better able to get in front of the threat, going forward.”
Source’s Jeff Zeleny, Whitney Wild, Ali Zaslav and Manu Raju contributed to this report.