In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Chris Wray confirmed that his agency has classified the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol as “domestic terrorism,” and that there is currently no evidence to support Republican claims that antifa members disguised as Trump supporters were involved in the attack.
"Jan. 6 was not an isolated event. The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing," Wray said Tuesday.
Wray also confirmed sentiments made by former Attorney General William Barr last November by saying that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, much less evidence of fraud that would overturn Biden’s electoral college win.
But despite those confirmations, lawmakers failed to press Wray on potential intelligence failings or communication issues that may have caused law enforcement to be unprepared for the Jan. 6 riots.
Despite testimony from law enforcement last Tuesday alleging the FBI failed to adequately prepare them for the threats presented by domestic terrorists on Jan. 6, lawmakers largely chose not to question Wray on whether the agency did enough to warn the Capitol and D.C. Metro Police Departments.
The Norflok report
One of the few pieces of intelligence that the FBI issued as a warning prior to Jan. 6 was a report from the agency’s Norfolk office that warned pro-Trump rioters were reading for war. Last week, D.C. Metro Police Chief Robert Contee said he received that report in an e-mail at 7 p.m. the day before the riots.
Contee claimed last week that the FBI failed to relay the urgency of the intelligence and said he thought the report warranted a phone call.
On Tuesday, Wray clarified that the information in the report was “raw and unverified,” and that the Norfolk office notified local law enforcement less than an hour after receiving that information.
He also said that info was shared three separate ways: an email, a post in a “law enforcement portal” and in a verbal briefing at the command center in D.C.
Role of 'QAnon'
Wray was also asked by Sen. Richard Bulumenthal, D-CT, about the role the QAnon conspiracy movement played in the role of the riots. Wray noted that the FBI is "concerned" about the phenomenon and notes that some violent extremists have cited the conspiracy as part of their motivation.
But when pressed by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, if the risk has been heightened after aspects of the conspiracy have been supported by lawmakers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Wray hedged.Wray said the agency's focus is "on violence," and extremists draw "inspiration from many sources."
QAnon is a conspiracy that alleges President Donald Trump is fighting a satanic cabal of pedophiles and cannibals. Many of those who rioted at the Capitol on Jan. 6 were wearing "Q" shirts or carrying "Q" flags.