Red Alert: FBI Director Wray says China is preparing to wreak havoc through cyber-attacks


Important Takeaways:

  • FBI Director Christopher Wray is set to warn lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday that Chinese hackers are preparing to “wreak havoc and cause real-world harm to American citizens and communities.”
  • Wray and other government officials are set to testify in front of the House Select Committee at 11 a.m. for a hearing titled “The Chinese Community Party Cyber Threat to the American Homeland and National Security.”
  • “There has been far too little public focus on the fact that People’s Republic of China hackers are targeting our critical infrastructure — our water treatment plants, our electrical grid, our oil and natural gas pipelines, our transportation systems. And the risk that poses to every American requires our attention – now,” Wray is expected to tell lawmakers in an excerpt from his remarks.
  • “China’s hackers are positioning on American infrastructure in preparation to wreak havoc and cause real-world harm to American citizens and communities, if or when China decides the time has come to strike,” he will add.
  • Wray previously testified in April last year that FBI agents are outnumbered by “at least 50 to 1” when attempting to address the threat China poses to critical infrastructure through its cyber hacking practices, and said Beijing has stolen more personal and corporate data from the U.S. than any other nation.
  • “They’ve got a bigger hacking program than every other major nation combined and have stolen more of our personal and corporate data than all other nations – big or small combined,” he said during a House Appropriations Committee hearing at the time.

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Heightened threat level FBI Director warns


Important Takeaways:

  • FBI Director Warns House Panel Threat of Terror Attack Now at Whole ‘Nother Level’
  • The directors of the FBI and Homeland Security were in front of Congress Wednesday warning Americans to stay vigilant given the situation in the Middle East.
  • Those most responsible for protecting the country fear lone wolf attacks could happen here based on antisemitism, islamophobia, or just hate for America.
  • “In a year where the terrorism threat was already elevated, the ongoing war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the United States to a whole ‘nother level,'” FBI Director Christopher Wray told a House panel.
  • Wray confirmed multiple investigations were underway nationwide into people who may have connections to Hamas.
  • “Our most immediate concern is that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home,” he said
  • Concern quickly shifted the conversation to the southern border after nearly 200 people on the terror watch list were encountered there.
  • “200 is alarming to me, does that give you concern?” asked Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX).
  • “Certainly, the numbers give us concern. I think it’s important in some ways to say that numbers alone don’t really tell the problem. We’ve all seen how much damage just a small number of foreign terrorists could cause. As crazy as it sounds people tend to forget it was 19 who killed 3,000,” Wray replied.
  • “That’s the point I was going to make. It only took 19 to create 9/11,” McCaul said.
  • One point Wray stressed to the American people is, that while continuing to live their lives, there should be a heightened awareness.

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Still no documents turned over to Congress from the FBI, but Director Wray has confirmed they exist

Ecclesiastes 5:8 If you see the extortion[a] of the poor, or the perversion[b] of justice and fairness in the government, [c] do not be astonished by the matter. For the high official is watched by a higher official, [d] and there are higher ones over them! [e]

Important Takeaways:

  • FBI Director Confirms Existence of Document Alleging Biden Engaged in Bribery: House GOP
  • The FBI has still failed to hand over the document to the Oversight Committee, prompting further threats of contempt of Congress charges
  • FBI Director Christopher Wray has confirmed the existence of a document alleging that President Joe Biden engaged in a criminal bribery scheme with a foreign national according to Republicans on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee.
  • In a Twitter post, the panel announced that Wray had told them the document was real and offered to let them review it, but has failed to produce the document for the Oversight Committee as a whole.
  • If true, the acknowledgment is the latest in an escalating showdown between House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Wray over the document.
  • In a May 3 letter, Comer and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) revealed that they received “highly credible unclassified whistleblower disclosures” that the FBI possessed an unclassified record that “describes an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Joe Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions.”
  • Comer gave Wray a May 30 deadline to produce the document or face charges for contempt of Congress—a deadline Wray missed. The threat got a boost after it won the support of Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who agreed to hold Wray in contempt if the deadline wasn’t met.
  • On May 31, Wray met with Comer and others, when he allegedly revealed the truth of the document’s existence.
  • But he’s failed to turn it over to the panel, prompting Republicans to again warn that they’ll move forward with contempt charges.
  • “If the FBI fails to hand over the FD-1023 form as required by the subpoena, [Comer] will begin contempt of Congress proceedings,” the Oversight panel wrote on Twitter.

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Exclusive-Senate pushes FBI on intelligence “fail” on the Proud Boys

By Aram Roston

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee chair is pressing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to explain how it failed to anticipate the violence of Jan. 6, despite having contact with several members of the far right Proud Boys in the months before the insurrection.

On Monday, the committee chair, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, wrote to FBI director Christopher Wray asking whether the agency had adequately pushed its sources in the extremist group to understand their plans before the Capitol attack that sought to block the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president.

Durbin’s letter came after Reuters reported last week that the FBI had received information from at least four sources in the Proud Boys over the years since 2019. The Judiciary Committee has oversight of the FBI.

“Given the FBI’s apparent relationship with Proud Boys sources,” the Illinois senator asked Wray, “why did the FBI fail to detect the threat that the Proud Boys and other similar militia violent extremists posed to the Capitol on January 6?”

The FBI did not immediately respond Monday to questions about the letter.

In court filings, prosecutors have described the Proud Boys as among the instigators of the fatal riot on Jan. 6, in which extremists sought to keep Donald Trump in office despite his electoral defeat. At least 18 Proud Boys have been arrested on charges ranging from conspiracy to assaulting police officers. At least six others associated with or accompanying the group have been charged.

As Reuters reported last week, Proud Boys leader Joseph Biggs declined to discuss his plans for Jan. 6 when the news agency interviewed him two days before the Capitol riot. But he said he would have told an FBI agent he knew, if he’d been asked.

Citing that report, Durbin asked Wray: “Did the FBI ask its Proud Boys sources for their plans for January 6? If not, why not?”

Biggs has said in court filings that he frequently reported information to the FBI about “Antifa,” a left-wing movement criticized by Trump and his followers. Biggs is now charged with conspiracy in the riot. He is appealing a judge’s ruling that he be detained until trial.

Proud Boys leaders maintain they never spoke with the FBI about the group itself. Instead, they say, they often shared information about Antifa members or, in other cases, told the federal agency about routes for planned marches.

Even before Jan. 6, the Proud Boys had become a well-known right-wing group that calls itself “Western chauvinist” and often engages in street fighting and violence.

(Reporting by Aram Roston in Washington. Editing by Ronnie Greene)

FBI chief says threats from drones to U.S. ‘steadily escalating’

FBI Director Christopher Wray, testifies before a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing on "Threats to the Homeland" at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, U.S., October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI director Christopher Wray told a U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday that the threat from drones “is steadily escalating” even as Congress gives agencies new tools to address threats.

Wray told the Senate Homeland Security committee that the FBI assesses that “given their retail availability, lack of verified identification requirement to procure, general ease of use, and prior use overseas, (drones) will be used to facilitate an attack in the United States against a vulnerable target, such as a mass gathering.”

Wray made his comments days after President Donald Trump signed into law legislation that gives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI new powers to disable or destroy drones that pose a threat to government facilities.

The new law also requires DHS to conduct several assessments to evaluate emerging threats that drones may pose to state or private critical infrastructure entities and domestic airports. Wray said the risk has “only increased in light of the publicity associated with the apparent attempted assassination of Venezuelan President Maduro using explosives-laden” drones.

Wray noted the FBI had disrupted a plan in the United States to use drones to attack the Pentagon and the Capitol building. In 2012, Rezwan Ferdaus was sentenced to 17 years in prison for attempting to conduct a terrorist attack.

Ferdaus, who held a degree in physics, obtained multiple jet-powered, remote-controlled model aircraft capable of flying 100 miles per hour and planned to fill the aircraft with explosives and crash them into the Pentagon and the Capitol using a GPS system in each aircraft.

Senator Ron Johnson, who chairs the committee, said earlier this year that the number of drone flights over sensitive areas or suspicious activities has jumped from eight incidents in 2013 to an estimated 1,752 incidents in 2016, citing federal statistics.

The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the drone provision, saying it “amounts to an enormous unchecked grant of authority to the government to forcefully remove drones form the sky in nebulous security circumstances.”

The FBI has said drone threats could include surveillance, chemical, biological or radiological attacks or attacks “on large open-air venues” and attacks against government facilities.

Since 2017, federal officials have banned drones over U.S. military bases, national landmarks, nuclear sites and other sensitive areas. The Defense Department previously was given authority to address drone threats to military facilities.

More than 1 million U.S. drones have been registered, the Federal Aviation Administration said in January.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

FBI chief sees no evidence of White House interference in Russia probe

FILE PHOTO: Christopher Wray testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be the next FBI director on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Thursday he has “not detected any whiff of interference” by the White House into the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Speaking publicly for the first time since being confirmed as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wray also expressed confidence in Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating whether President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during the election.

“I can say very confidently that I have not detected any whiff of interference with that investigation,” Wray said during a panel discussion at the Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington.

Wray was installed as FBI director after his predecessor, James Comey, was fired by Trump in May. In an interview with NBC after Comey’s removal, Trump admitted he was thinking about “this Russia thing” when he decided to fire the then-FBI chief.

Comey later told Congress he believed Trump had tried to get him to drop an FBI probe into former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, as part of the broader Russia investigation – testimony that has raised questions about whether Trump was potentially trying to obstruct justice.

The White House has repeatedly denied the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the election.

Trump’s advisers and allies also have questioned Mueller’s independence and credibility, with some pointing out that he has hired attorneys who have given political donations to Democrats.

But Wray said he has “enormous respect” for Mueller, who is also a former FBI director. He stressed that Mueller is running the probe but said the FBI is assisting by dedicating agents and providing other support to the investigation.

Wray also reiterated his confidence in a January report compiled by U.S. intelligence agencies which concluded that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election and tried to tilt it in Trump’s favor – a finding Trump has often questioned.

Prior to his confirmation as FBI director, Wray had only read a non-classified version of the report.

“I have no reason to doubt the conclusions that the hard- working people who put that together came to,” Wray said.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Paul Simao)

Wray confirmed by Senate to lead FBI after Comey firing

Wray confirmed by Senate to lead FBI after Comey firing

By Julia Edwards Ainsley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed former Justice Department lawyer Christopher Wray as FBI chief, nearly three months after the agency’s previous director, James Comey, was fired by President Donald Trump.

Wray, who was confirmed by vote of 92-5, will take charge of the country’s top domestic law enforcement agency during a federal probe into allegations of collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

Since the dismissal of Comey on May 9, the Justice Department has appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the investigation with the help of the FBI. Russia denies any interference, and Trump has denied collusion with Russia.

Wray vowed in his confirmation hearing last month to remain independent and not be swayed by politics or pressure from the president. He also praised Muller as the “consummate straight shooter.”

He also worked with Comey on the government’s case in the Enron Corp fraud scandal in the early 2000s.

During the confirmation hearing, Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Wray’s background showed he was committed to independence, an attribute he said was “vitally important” in the next FBI director.

Wray served as assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division at the Justice Department under former Republican President George W. Bush.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, both Democrats who served under President Barack Obama, endorsed Wray.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards Ainsley; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Trump’s FBI pick vows independence, says Russia probe no ‘witch hunt’

Christopher Wray testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be the next FBI director on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

By Julia Edwards Ainsley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s pick to head the FBI, Christopher Wray, on Wednesday said he would refuse to pledge loyalty to Trump, rejected his description of the probe into Russian election meddling as a “witch hunt,” and vowed to quit if told by the president to do something unlawful.

Wray, nominated by Trump on June 7 to replace the fired James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, firmly sought to establish independence from the Republican president and even said it would be “highly unlikely” that he would agree to meet him in a one-on-one situation.

Wray appeared at his U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing amid an uproar in Washington over 2016 emails released on Tuesday involving the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. The emails showed the president’s son agreeing last year to meet a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Democratic White House rival Hillary Clinton as part of Moscow’s official support for his father.

Wray deflected specific questions from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham about the president’s son’s emails, but said, “Any threats or effort to interfere with our election from any nation-state or any non-state actor is the kind of thing the FBI would want to know.”

Trump’s son did not notify the FBI and wrote that “I love it” of the Russian’s offer of information about Clinton.

Wray, who appeared on target to win confirmation, also said he had no reason to doubt the U.S. intelligence community’s finding that Russia interfered with the election to help Trump get elected in part by hacking and releasing emails damaging to Clinton.

In the aftermath of Comey’s firing, the Justice Department named Robert Mueller, himself a former FBI director, to serve as special counsel looking into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race to help Trump get elected and potential collusion between Moscow and Trump associates.

Trump fired Comey on May 9 and later cited the “Russia thing” as his reason.

Trump often has called the Russia probe a “witch hunt.” The Russia matter has dogged Trump’s first six months in office.

“I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt,” Wray told Republican Graham.

Wray and Comey served together in the Justice Department under Republican former President George W. Bush, and both worked on the government’s case in the Enron Corp fraud scandal in the early to mid-2000s.

Wray said he was “very committed” to supporting Mueller in the special counsel investigation, calling him “the consummate straight shooter and somebody I have enormous respect for.”

Dianne Feinstein asked Wray to tell the committee “if you learn about any machinations to tamper with” Mueller’s probe.

“Understood,” Wray responded.


Wray said he spoke with no one at the White House about Comey’s firing. He said no one at the White House had demanded that he pledge his loyalty to Trump, as Comey said the president demanded of him, and said he would not give such an assurance if asked.

“My loyalty is to the Constitution, to the rule of law and to the mission of the FBI. And no one asked me for any kind of loyalty oath at any point during this process, and I sure as heck didn’t offer one,” Wray said.

Comey previously testified to the same committee that Trump pressed him in a one-on-one session to drop the FBI investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia and said he felt he was fired in a bid by the president to undercut the Russia probe.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy asked Wray, “If the president asks you to do something unlawful or unethical, what do you say?”

“First, I would try to talk him out of it. And if that failed, I would resign,” Wray said.

Asked by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin if he would ever meet in the Oval Office with the president with no one else present, Wray said, “I think it would be highly unlikely.”

Wray is a former U.S. Justice Department lawyer who has prosecuted and defended white-collar crime cases and represented New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in a political scandal.

The allegation involving Trump pressing Comey over the Flynn probe raised questions about whether Trump’s behavior amounted to obstruction of justice, a potential issue in any potential future effort in Congress to impeach the Republican president and remove him from office.

Wray repeatedly vowed independence.

“There’s only one right way to do this job, and that is with strict independence, by the book, playing it straight, faithful to the Constitution, faithful to our laws, and faithful to the best practices of the institution, without fear, without favoritism and certainly without regard to any partisan political influence,” Wray said.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards Ainsley; Editing by Will Dunham)

Trump to ask former Justice Dept official Wray to lead FBI

FILE PHOTO: Assistant U.S. Attorney General Christopher Wray pauses during a press conference at the Justice Department in Washington, U.S. November 4, 2003. REUTERS/Molly Riley/File Photo

By Julia Edwards Ainsley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he plans to nominate Christopher Wray, a former U.S. assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush now in private practice, to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new Director of the FBI. Details to follow,” Trump said in a statement on Twitter.

The U.S. Senate must approve Trump’s choice to replace former FBI Director James Comey, whom the president fired last month amid the agency’s ongoing probe into alleged Russian meddling into the U.S. election.

Trump’s announcement comes the day before Comey is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Moscow’s alleged interference and any potential ties to Trump’s campaign or associates.

The president met last week with candidates for the FBI director post, including Wray, according to White House spokesman Sean Spicer.

Wray currently works for King & Spalding’s Washington and Atlanta offices where he handles various white-collar criminal and regulatory enforcement cases, according to the firm.

He served as assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s criminal division from 2003 to 2005, working on corporate fraud scandals and cases involving U.S. financial markets, according to his biography on the law firm’s website.

Many lawmakers have said Trump should pick a career law enforcement professional.

One former FBI official questioned whether Wray had the management experience to run an agency with more than 35,000 people, given the small size of the division he ran at the Justice Department.

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Alden Bentley and Jeffrey Benkoe)