Nov 19, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Turner: FBI director's public comments on U.S. terrorist threats "unusual"

House Intelligence Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) called it unusual Sunday for the FBI to make public statements on terrorist groups calling for attacks on the United States.

Why it matters: The U.S. continues to see heightened threats of violence, and FBI Director Christopher Wray has warned of "violent extremists" in the U.S. and abroad drawing inspiration from Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

What he's saying: "This is very ... unusual for the FBI director to so publicly make these statements, Turner said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday when asked about Wray's comments.

  • "It certainly shows the extent to which these threats are troubling the director," Turner said.

Turner noted how Wray cited the U.S.' "chaotic withdrawal" of Afghanistan and people believed on the U.S. terror watch list who crossed the border when the director had indicated the unprecedented increase in terrorist threats to the U.S.

  • "Those are two Biden administration policies, so for the FBI director to cite those ... where the threats are emanating, certainly shows you how important these statements are," Turner said.

Catch up quick: FBI Director Christopher Wray testified last week before the House Committee on Homeland Security, saying that "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."

  • "Since Oct. 7, we've seen a rogue's gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against Americans and our allies," Wray said.
  • Wray had previously sounded these alarms in October, saying that "multiple foreign terrorist organizations have called for attacks against Americans and the West."

Zoom out: The fighting in Israel and Gaza has also sparked concerns about a surge in hate crimes in the U.S., particularly against Jewish and Muslim communities.

  • A recent Anti-Defamation League report found that the U.S. is experiencing a significant spike in antisemitic cases following the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

Go deeper: Hamas attack could inspire "violent extremists" in U.S., FBI director says

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