Apr 11, 2024 - World

FBI chief warns of "coordinated attack" threat to U.S. after Russia shooting

FBI director Christopher Wray testifies at a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Photo: Julia Nikhinson/Getty Images

The FBI is growing increasingly concerned about a potential attack in the U.S. similar to last month's Russia concert hall shooting, bureau director Christopher Wray said Thursday.

The big picture: "As I look back over my career in law enforcement, I would be hard-pressed to think of a time where so many threats to our public safety and national security were so elevated all at once," Wray told lawmakers as he urged Congress to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

  • "But that is the case as I sit here today," added Wray during testimony before the House Appropriations Committee.

Zoom in: "Our most immediate concern has been that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home," Wray told the committee.

  • "But now increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the homeland, akin to the ISIS-K attack we saw at the Russia concert hall" that killed more than 140 people, he added.

Driving the news: A vote on reauthorizing the FISA bill allowing U.S. intelligence agencies to conduct warrantless surveillance of non-Americans abroad was defeated in the House on Wednesday.

  • A group of right-wing hardliners blocked the measure after former President Trump called for them to "KILL" it and say they're seeking an amendment to protect privacy rights.
  • Civil liberties groups including ACLU have expressed concern that the FISA section Wray is calling to reauthorize would result in "mass, warrantless surveillance of Americans' and foreigners'" communications.

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