2. SOUNDBITE (English) Chris Wray, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director:
"I was appalled, like you, at the violence and destruction that we saw that day. I was appalled that you, our country's elected leaders, were victimized right here in these very halls. That attack, that siege was criminal behavior, plain and simple. And it's behavior that we, the FBI, view as domestic terrorism. It's got no place in our democracy. And tolerating it would make a mockery of our nation's rule of law. The rule of law, of course, is our country's bedrock and it's our guiding principle at the FBI."
3. Cutaway of Senate Judiciary Committee hearing
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Chris Wray, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director:
"The FBI has been working day and night across the country to track down those responsible for the events of January 6th and to hold them accountable. We're chasing down leads. We're reviewing evidence, combing through digital media to identify, investigate and arrest anyone who broke the law that day."
5. Cutaway of Senate Judiciary Committee hearing
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Chris Wray, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director:
"We've arrested already more than 270 individuals to date, over 300 when you include the ones of our partners with more subjects being identified and charged just about every single day. The FBI is committed to seeing this through, no matter how many people it takes or how long or the resources we need to get it done, because as citizens, in a sense, we're all victims of the January 6th assault and the American people deserve nothing less."
7. Cutaway of Senate Judiciary Committee hearing
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Chris Wray, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director:
"We do not investigate ideology, but we focus on acts of violence and violations of federal law. And when we see those, when we see those, we will bring to bear the full weight of our resources, our experience and our partnerships. And when domestic violence extremists use explosive devices, when they attack government facilities and businesses, when they assault law enforcement officers, when they use violence to interfere with the lawful operation of our government, they should expect the FBI to come knocking on their door no matter where they try to run."
9. Cutaway of Senate Judiciary Committee hearing
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Chris Wray, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director:
"And no matter what comes our way, our work to safeguard the rule of law, to protect the American people and to uphold the Constitution goes on and will never stop."
FBI Director Chris Wray condemned the January riot at the U.S. Capitol as "domestic terrorism" Tuesday as he defended the bureau's handling of intelligence indicating the prospect for violence. He told lawmakers the information was properly shared with other law enforcement agencies even though it was raw and unverified.
Wray's comments in his first public appearance before Congress since the deadly Capitol attack two months ago amounted to the FBI's most vigorous defense against the suggestion that it had not adequately communicated to police agencies that there was a distinct possibility of violence as lawmakers were gathering to certify the results of the presidential election.
A Jan. 5 report from the FBI's Norfolk, Virginia, field office warned of online posts foreshadowing a "war" in Washington the following day. However, Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of that report and had received no intelligence from the FBI that would have led them to expect the sort of violence that besieged the Capitol that day. Five people died that day.
Asked about the handling of the report, Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that it was shared though the FBI's joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post and posted on an Internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. The information was raw and unverified, and ideally, the FBI would have had more time to try to corroborate it.
He was also expected to be pressed at the hearing on how the FBI is confronting a national security threat from white nationalists and domestic violent extremists and whether the bureau has adequate resources to address those issues.
The violence at the Capitol made clear that a law enforcement agency that remade itself after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to deal with international terrorism is now scrambling to address homegrown violence from white Americans. President Joe Biden's administration has tasked his national intelligence director to work with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to assess the threat.
"It's behavior that we, the FBI, view as domestic terrorism. It's got no place in our democracy and tolerating it would make a mockery of our nation's rule of law," Wray said of Jan. 6.
Wray has kept a notably low profile since the Capitol attack. Though he has briefed lawmakers privately and shared information with local law enforcement, Tuesday's oversight hearing marked Wray's first public appearance before Congress since before November's presidential election.
Wray was also likely to face questions about the FBI's investigation into a massive Russian hack of corporations.