FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday the agency is still pursuing hundreds of suspects as part of its investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Wray made the comments during testimony before the House Oversight Committee, saying the agency had already arrested nearly 500 people in connection with the insurrection but stressed there were “hundreds of investigations that are still ongoing” beyond that figure.
Although many of those charges were related to misdemeanors, Wray said the agency was focused on a core group of people who journeyed to the Capitol “with intent to commit very serious mayhem.”
The hearings were part of an ongoing effort to investigate how the attack was organized and to what extent federal agencies failed to adequately identify the threat. During Tuesday’s session, lawmakers pressed Wray and other officials about the origins of the attack, lambasting what they said were deep warning signs “everywhere.”
During one moment, committee chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) asked about messages warning of the insurrection on the social media network Parler, including one posted just days beforehand that said: “Don’t be surprised if we take the Capitol building.”
“I’m not aware of Parler ever trying to contact my office,” Wray said of the missive. He later clarified that some Parler messages were routed to FBI field offices affiliated with domestic terrorism.
“Our goal is to bat 1.000, and any time there’s an attack, much less an attack as horrific and spectacular as what happened on Jan. 6, we consider that to be unacceptable,” Wray said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she was still mulling whether to create a House select committee with subpoena power to investigate the attack.
“We can’t wait any longer,” she said Tuesday, per The New York Times.
Last month, Senate Republicans blocked the creation of a bipartisan panel modeled after the body that probed the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks to investigate the insurrection.
The FBI has continued to issue warnings about domestic extremism and said that Americans who believe in QAnon conspiracy theories could turn to violence in the coming months. The Associated Press reported this week that a federal intelligence report cited growing concern among officials as QAnon’s false tales about the return of President Donald Trump and the imminent arrest of top Democrats failed to come true.
“[Followers] likely will begin to believe they can no longer ‘trust the plan’ referenced in QAnon posts and that they have an obligation to change from serving as ‘digital soldiers’ towards engaging in real-world violence,” the report, compiled by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, said.
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