FBI director Christopher Wray knocks down the agency's biggest partisan critics point by point after blistering watchdog report
- FBI Director Christopher Wray said he "appreciates" and takes "very seriously" a report from the Justice Department's watchdog that examines the conduct of several officials, including the former director, James Comey.
- The report comes amid a trying time for the agency, which has endured withering attacks from President Donald Trump and his loyalists who believe the FBI is biased against Trump.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said he "appreciates" and takes "very seriously" a report from the Justice Department's watchdog that examines the conduct of several officials, including the former director, James Comey.
The report found that Comey deviated from FBI and Justice Department norms during the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state. The DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz released the 568-page report on Thursday.
Since President Donald Trump took office, he has railed against the FBI, Comey, and the agency's former deputy director, Andrew McCabe - under the pretense that the bureau at large was enveloped in a conspiracy to undermine his presidency.Many of Trump's most vocal supporters have latched on to that narrative, while Trump continued to publicly decry the FBI's leadership, and make unsubstantiated claims that morale at the agency was low.
On Thursday, Wray offered a low-key rebuttal to those claims, without mentioning Trump's name. "The opinions to me that matter are the opinions of the people that are relevant to our work, day in and day out, all across this country," Wray said during a press conference.
"Those people are having to make important decisions that protect lives," Wray said. "The opinions of the people that they have to engage with on that work, those are the opinions that matter to me."
Wray also offered several examples of the work the FBI has done recently:
- In the last several months, the FBI disrupted terrorist attacks that ranged from from the fisherman's wharf in San Francisco, to a crowded shopping mall in Miami.
- In March, the FBI charged an alleged Iranian state-sponsored hacker ring with stealing terabytes of data from US companies, universities, and government agencies.
- In Austin, Texas, the FBI deployed more than 600 personnel to assist in the package bombings that killed two people and terrorized locals.
- So far, 1,305 children were rescued from child predators, some of them as young as 7-months-old.
- More than 4,600 gang-members were arrested in the last several months.
- The FBI's hostage rescue team deployed around 27 times for missions.
"I see extraordinary people doing extraordinary work," Wray said. "Again, and again, I hear remarkable stories, frankly, inspiring stories about the work the men and women of the FBI are doing to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution."
Wray conceded that, while the report highlighted some shortcomings at the FBI, changes in policy and practice are already underway.