FBI director breaks from Biden administration on border: 'Significant security issues'
"Any port of entry, any potential vulnerability, is something we know foreign terrorist organizations and others will seek to exploit," said Christopher Wray at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has distanced himself from the Biden administration's assurance that the U.S.-Mexico border is secure, even as millions of illegal immigrants attempt to cross into the United States.
Illegal crossings set a record in June of this year.
A recent report showed that migrants from over 100 countries have been represented among those seeking entry into the U.S. without documentation. Some have been linked to the terrorist watchlist, including 15 noncitizens who crossed the border in 2021.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said he thinks the southern border is secure.
Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn asked Wray on Thursday if he sees an open border as a national security threat.
"I think there are serious security issues represented at the border, a wide array of criminal threats that we are deeply concerned about at the FBI," he said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. "And that transcends everything from gangs, violence."
Wray was asked to elaborate on how the FBI is tracking, monitoring, apprehending, and investigating the individuals with terrorist ties who cross the border.
"I guess there are two things," he said. "I would say one is we're constantly sharing watchlist information with DHS and with our partners to improve the border security in that regard. And then second, through our joint terrorism task forces all over the country, we are investigating any number of individuals who are here in the United States."
Wray recently visited the U.S.-Mexico border personally. He was pressed by Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn on whether he thinks the border is secure.
"There's a wide array of criminal threats that we encounter down at the border," he said, referencing transnational criminal organizations trafficking illegal drugs to street gangs for distribution.
Wray described the U.S.-Mexico border as a vulnerability that bad actors seek to exploit.
"Any port of entry, any potential vulnerability, is something we know foreign terrorist organizations and others will seek to exploit," he said. "And you only have to look at the case that we charged pretty recently involving an individual trying to smuggle nationals into the U.S. to kill former President Bush to be reminded that it's something we need to take definitely seriously."
In May, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China poses the "most serious long-term" threat to the world order.
Wray has issued strong warnings about the threat posed by the Chinese government, while President Biden has been criticized for not doing enough to combat Chinese espionage and technology theft or prevail in economic competition with the U.S. rival.
"With Biden's blessing, Senate Democrats will vote to give massive tax breaks for electric batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines manufactured in China," wrote Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio in an op-ed. "The taxes are part of the Democrats' so-called 'Inflation Reduction Act,' a 725-page boondoggle that will increase taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars in the middle of a recession they created."
In July, Wray said the FBI "consistently see(s) that it's the Chinese government that poses the biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security."
Under questioning from Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse on Thursday, Wray reaffirmed that he sees China as the number one geopolitical foe of the United States.
"That would be the People's Republic of China, and specifically the Chinese Communist Party," he said.