"The reality is that the terrorism threat has been elevated throughout 2023, but the ongoing war in the Middle East has raised the threat of attack on Americans to a whole other level," Wray said in his testimony during the Oct. 31 hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
The FBI director told senators that homegrown violent extremists inspired by foreign terror organizations or domestic extremists targeting specific religious or ethnic groups might exploit the ongoing conflict to carry out attacks in the United States.
"In just the past few weeks, multiple foreign terrorist organizations have called for attacks against Americans and the West. We also cannot and do not discount the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization may exploit the current conflict to conduct attacks here on our own soil," he said.
Moreover, Wray disclosed that Al Qaeda has issued its most specific call for attacks on the U.S. in years, while Islamic State leaders have ordered their followers to target Jewish communities. The FBI director also believes that Tehran and its proxies, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, are eyeing U.S. interests in the Middle East. Additionally, Iran aims to foster chaos without opening a second front with the U.S. or Israel. (Related: FBI warns: Hamas or other terrorist groups could attack United States.)
"Given that disturbing history, we are keeping a close eye on what impact recent events may have on those groups' intentions here in the United States and how those intentions might evolve," Wray said. He also stressed the risk of cyberattacks targeting American interests by Iran and other adversarial nations.
Wray, along with National Counterterrorism Center Director Christine Abizaid and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, pleaded with Congress to renew the snooping powers under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
"It would be absolutely devastating if the next time an adversary like Iran or China conducts a major cyberattack, we don’t see it coming because 702, one of our most important tools, was allowed to lapse," Wray said.
Section 702, which is set to expire at the end of the year, permits the U.S. government to conduct targeted surveillance of foreign nationals residing outside the U.S. without the need for a warrant. This law was enacted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Intelligence agencies were allowed to collect extensive data, such as emails, phone calls, texts and other communications from foreign nationals outside the country, even without a warrant.
The provision strictly prohibits intelligence agencies from using these powers to target Americans directly, as it would infringe on their Fourth Amendment rights. However, it allows for the "incidental" collection of data on U.S. citizens during interactions with foreign surveillance targets.
As the years passed, controversy and criticism dogged Section 702. Notably, a court opinion disclosed that FBI employees had wrongly accessed foreign surveillance data in search of U.S. senators' and a state senator's last names. Another FBI employee used the Social Security number of a state judge who had reported civil rights violations by a municipal police chief.
"The FBI continues to misuse authority under [the FISA's] Section 702. You would think we'd be going after foreigners. But we are using the FISA to go after Americans," said Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Given this, Congress is hesitant to renew it without substantial changes due to potential abuse.
Visit Surveillance.news to learn more about the unauthorized spying tactics of intel agencies in the United States.
Watch the Health Ranger Mike Adams recount how former President Barack Obama used a FISA warrant to spy on his successor Donald Trump.
This video is from the Health Ranger Report channel on Brighteon.com.