CJR Staff
July 15, 2023

FBI Director refuses to answer important questions from lawmakers

Mums the word when it comes to FBI Director Christopher Wray answering questions about hot-button issues.

Wray refused to answer direct questions several issues at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

After he dedclined to answer questions from lawmakers, both sides of the political aisle were frustrated.

Wray Refused To Cooperate

FBI alumni even rebuked Wray for his failure to cooperate with questioning.

"Chris Wray is tone deaf. He had an opportunity today to really start righting the ship, to start bringing the 50, 60 maybe 80 million Americans who don't trust the FBI," said retired Supervisory Special Agent Jeff Danik.

Danik added that Wray had "really fumbled the ball."

"He did a disservice to the people that he shoves out in front of him every single day saying they are heroes, which they are, the frontline people," Danik continued.

Some of the issues Wray refused to discuss include:

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)

"Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz asked Wray about the FBI's alleged misuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act database under Section 702, which allows the government to spy electronically on foreign people outside the U.S., and about how many times that occurred under his watch," reported JustTheNews.

Wray wouldn't confirm a specific number or explain why illegal searches had happened.

"Special counsel John Durham's final report on the origins of the FBI probe into alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia also found the agency abused the FISA process on numerous occasions," JustTheNews reported.

"Again, I don't have the numbers as I sit here right now," Wray said in response to repeated questioning about the matter.

Gaetz fired back, "It seems like a number you should know, how many times the FBI is breaking the law under your watch."

Wray said some individuals have been disciplined for misuse of the database. But Wray would not elaborate further.

FBI purchasing data from private companies

Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal asked Wray if the FBI is purchasing Americans' personal data from private businesses like social media companies or internet providers.

Jayapal cited a report from the director of national intelligence's office. The cited report stated the FBI purchases commercially available data.

Wray refused to confirm or deny that the agency is purchasing data. He also wouldn't elaborate at all on how the FBI uses any data about Americans that it does obtain.

"Respectfully, this is a topic that gets very involved to explain, so what I would prefer to do is have our subject matters come back up and brief you," Wray said, dodging the question.

The press briefing went on and on with more of the same. Good questions from lawmakers and Wray refusing to give an inch.

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