FBI warns Congress against possible coordinated attack in US after Russia massacre - Hindustan Times
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FBI warns Congress against possible coordinated attack in US after Russia massacre

Reuters | | Posted by Shweta Kukreti
Apr 11, 2024 11:17 PM IST

The FBI is concerned about the possibility of an organized attack in the US similar to the one that killed scores at a Russian concert hall last month.

The FBI is concerned about the possibility of an organized attack in the United States similar to the one that killed scores at a Russian concert hall last month, the bureau's director plans to tell a House of Representatives panel on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats to American security, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 11, 2024. REUTERS/Julia Nikhinson/File Photo(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats to American security, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 11, 2024. REUTERS/Julia Nikhinson/File Photo(REUTERS)

“Looking back over my career in law enforcement, I’d 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,” Christopher Wray is set to tell lawmakers during a budget hearing. “But that is the case as I sit here today.”

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The March 22 attack on a concert hall in suburban Moscow killed at least 144 people, the deadliest in Russia in 20 years. A branch of the Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility, but Russian President Vladimir Putin, without citing evidence, has sought to blame Ukraine.

U.S. officials have been worried about the possibility of an attack carried out by an individual or small group inspired by the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. But the FBI is growing concerned about a more coordinated attack following the concert massacre in Russia, Wray will say during testimony.

Of increasing concern "is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the homeland, akin to the ISIS-K attack we saw at the Russia Concert Hall a couple weeks ago,” he will say.

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Wray to press Congress to renew Section 702 of FISA

Wray also plans to press lawmakers to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is scheduled to expire on April 19 and allows for the monitoring of foreign persons abroad. He called it an indispensable tool against U.S. adversaries.

"… An absolutely indispensable tool for Congress can give us in our fight against foreign adversaries is the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act," he will say. "It's critical in securing our nation, and we're in crunch time."

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A modest overhaul of that program was blocked in the House on Wednesday amid concerns from members of both parties that it did not go far enough in curbing the government’s surveillance powers.

“It’s critical in securing our nation, and we’re in crunch time,” Wray plans to tell lawmakers.

The FBI has come under immense backlash over their improper use of Section 702 to spy on Black Lives Matter demonstrators throughout the summer of 2020 and individuals who staged riots at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The director of the FBI will also issue a warning, stating that agency budget cuts will have an immediate impact on partners in state and local law enforcement in addition to FBI operations.

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