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FBI chief Wray says Capitol siege was 'domestic terrorism'

Wray made his comments in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee

Updated: March 2, 2021 - 5:25pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

FBI Director Chris Wray described the siege on the U.S. Capitol as "domestic terrorism" and said that the bureau properly shared intelligence information with law enforcement ahead of the Jan. 6 riot.

Wray made the comments Tuesday while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee to address whether the bureau adequately communicated with local law enforcement agencies about the potential threats of violence for that day.

Making his first appearance before Congress since the Capitol breach, Wray noted that a number of foreign adversaries have leveraged the events of Jan. 6 to their own purposes, to underscore their narratives that the United States is in decline.

In other testimony, Wray said that the FBI cannot yet disclose how Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died following the siege. 

Wray responded to questions from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) about Sicknick, whose death after the riot remains a mystery.

"We can't yet disclose a cause of death at this stage," Wray said.

"But you have determined the cause of death?" Grassley pressed.

"I didn't say that. We're not at a point where we can disclose or confirm the cause of death," said Wray, who noted that an investigation is ongoing. 

Committee lawmakers will ask how the FBI is confronting the national security threat posed by white nationalist groups and other domestic violent extremists in the wake of the riots.

Wray has maintained a low profile since a mob breached the Capitol Building two months ago. Though he has briefed lawmakers privately and shared information with local law enforcement hearings, Tuesday's oversight hearing marks Wray's first public appearance before Congress since before November's presidential election, the Associated Press reports.

Wray's appearance follows last week's hearing on the riots featuring testimony from former congressional security officials and the acting chief of Washington D.C.'s  Metropolitan Police Department.

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