Wray Testifies That The New “Biggest Threats” To U.S. Are Radicalized Lone Wolves 

ortlemma / shutterstock.com
ortlemma / shutterstock.com

It seems the left never tires of revamping its list of the most significant terrorist threats facing the United States. The list keeps growing, from Catholics to Trump supporters and parents at school board meetings.  

But FBI Director Christopher Wray has found a way to link all these threats under one label – lone actors or small groups radicalized online and influenced by foreign terrorists.  

Emphasizing that America is experiencing a “heightened threat environment,” Wray testified Wednesday before the House Homeland Security Committee that these lone wolves include both “domestic violent extremists” and “homegrown violent extremists who are individuals here whom foreign terrorists inspire.” 

Say that Trump supporters are terrorists without saying they are terrorists, Wray. 

Regarding domestic violent extremism, FBI Director Wray highlighted that the “most lethal activity” has been perpetrated by “racially motivated violent extremists” who may also be characterized as “anti-government, anti-authority extremists.” When questioned by Democratic lawmakers about the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, Wray acknowledged that it could be considered one variation of such extremism. 

Surprisingly, Wray admitted that the national violence during the summer of 2020 could also be considered an example of the “anarchy” embraced by some American extremists. 

Since Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7, FBI Director Wray noted a significant increase in reported tips and threats. Wray explains that the threat environment was elevated before Oct. 7 and has escalated further. He observes that the majority of reported threats are directed at synagogues and other prominent Jewish entities.  He noted that the FBI is actively addressing tips and leads related to Palestine, radicalization, and Hamas recruitment efforts and has also identified threats to the Muslim community. Wray emphasized that the agency is actively investigating every tip it receives.  

Since the Hamas attacks, Muslim and Jewish civil rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the Center on American-Islamic Relations, have reported a significant increase in instances of harassment, bias, and physical assaults against their communities. The reported incidents include violence or threats at rallies supporting Israel or Palestinians, as well as random attacks on Muslim or Jewish individuals in public. 

Biden officials also reiterated a warning about China’s potential threat to the United States on the same day as President Biden’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California. FBI Director Wray concurs, emphasizing that he consistently views the Chinese government as the most comprehensive threat to economic security, national security, and innovation. Wray highlights China’s use of nontraditional collectors, not just traditional intelligence operatives, to pose these threats. 

Wray highlighted the importance of reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is set to expire next month. He expressed concern about the potentially devastating consequences of allowing Section 702 to lapse, cautioning that without it in place, a significant cyberattack from adversaries like Iran or China may blindside the U.S. He underscored the critical role of Section 702 in staying ahead of fast-moving situations, particularly in the Middle East. 

Section 702 grants intelligence agencies, like the National Security Agency (NSA), the authority to collect foreign intelligence information from non-U.S. citizens outside the United States.  

Supporters argue that Section 702 is crucial for U.S. protection. However, bipartisan critics have raised concerns over potential abuse of the statute. Representative Jim Jordan expressed worry over 204,000 instances of the FBI’s improper searches in the Section 702 databases. Concerned lawmakers fear that the section has led to data collection from Americans in communication with foreign surveillance targets, raising privacy concerns, 

Wray is right to be concerned about escalating terror threats relating to the Israeli-Hamas conflict. As recently as Wednesday, a violent clash broke out between pro-Palestinian protestors and Capitol police in front of the DNC headquarters in Washington, D.C.  In mid-October, a 6-year-old Palestinian boy was stabbed to death in Chicago. In early November, a Jewish man was killed during “dueling protests” between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine groups in Ventura, California. 

But for Americans who aren’t Democrats, it’s another step up the terrorism ladder. There’s little doubt that conservatives will once again be deemed the primary terrorist threat once the Israeli-Hamas tensions ease.  Harmless internet searches such as “homeschooling” or “prayer groups near me” will be interpreted as “radical online influences,” allowing the FBI to focus on individuals without connections to “radical groups” such as the PTA or Catholic churches. 

Of course, that’s a bit of a stretch, but Biden’s FBI already has more stretches than a yoga studio giving away free pizza after class.