The director of the FBI has asserted that far-left activists did not attack the US Capitol on January 6 under the guise of Donald Trump supporters.
In his first public testimony since the deadly riots that left five people dead, Christopher Wray called the insurrection at the Capitol ‘domestic terrorism’.
‘That attack, that siege, was criminal behaviour, plain and simple, and it’s behaviour that we, the FBI, view as domestic terrorism,’ he said.
Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Wray denied the theory that left-wing activists had been behind the seige.
‘We have not, to date, seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to ‘antifa’ in connection with the 6th. That doesn’t mean we’re not looking and will continue to look. But at the moment, we have not seen that,’ Wray said.
He said the FBI was investigating ‘quite a number’ of extremists that had allegedly participated in the riots from far-right anti-government organisations.
There are currently around 2,000 domestic terror probes open at the bureau, up from 1400 at the end of 2020.
Wray also defended the FBI against criticism that it had failed to prepare top officials for the violence despite receiving warnings in the form of an official report from its Virginia field office.
The report, which was sent on January 5, raised concerns about online extremist posts and the possibility of violence and ‘war’.
Wray said he had passed the report onto people in the ‘best position to take action’, however it later emerged that it did not reach top officials responsible for securing the Capitol.
When asked why the FBI had failed to ‘sound the alarm in some more visible and ringing way’ Wray said the bureau had not anticipated an isolated event because it has repeatedly warned about the threat of domestic terrorism in recent months.
‘The FBI over the course of 2020 put out a number of intelligence products specifically warning about domestic violent extremism. Including specifically warning about it in connection with the election. Including specifically warning about that threat in relation to the election and continuing past the election itself and up through the inauguration,’ Wray said.
‘The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now, and it’s not going away anytime soon. At the FBI, we’ve been sounding the alarm on it for a number of years now,’ he added.
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