In 2020, there was a 29% increase in murders in the United States, nearly 5,000 more people killed than the year before. FBI Director Christopher Wray pointed to the pandemic, repeat offenders and more young people committing violent crimes as some of the reasons for the increase in a
“And we’re seeing an alarming frequency of the worst of the worst returning to the streets,” Wray told correspondent Scott Pelley. “We’re working very hard with our partners, state and local law enforcement partners, through task forces, task forces across the country. And through rapid deployment teams to try to combat violent crime in specific hotspots. Last year I think they arrested about 15,000 violent gang members across the country. And part of what drives us to accomplish this mission is our deep conviction that the most sacred duty of law enforcement is to ensure that people can live without fear in their own homes and neighborhoods.
“But Mr. Director, some people live at home in fear of the police coming through the door with a warrant,” Pelley replied, “and I wonder how the FBI can contribute to reducing police brutality, which also happens in our country?
“Well, we take our responsibility to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution very seriously,” Wray said. “And that includes where it happens, going after police misconduct if it violates federal criminal law.”
Wray, who has served as director of the FBI since 2017, said violence against police officers is also on the rise.
“Violence against law enforcement in this country is one of the biggest phenomena that I think doesn’t get enough attention,” Wray said. “Last year, officers were killed at the rate of nearly one every five days.”
In 2021, 73 officers were killed, a 59% increase in police officer killings. Wray said some were targeted solely because they were police officers.
“Part of this is related to the problem of violent crime as a whole. But one of the phenomena that we saw last year is that an alarming percentage of the 73 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year were killed for things like being ambushed, or being shot while on patrol,” Wray told Pelley. “Wearing the badge shouldn’t make you a target.”
Pelley also asked Wray about the Bureau’s response to the Capitol attack. The FBI has been criticized for failing to develop intelligence that could have predicted the attack.
“Over 800 people have already been charged. Agents in field offices across the United States were involved in this. And we take this incredibly seriously,” Wray told Pelley.
“The criticism of the FBI after January 6 was that these people’s plans were on social media and the FBI didn’t see that,” Pelley said.
“We at the FBI shared information across a variety of intelligence products during a strong year leading up to January 6 that increased the potential for violent extremism,” Wray said. “What we didn’t have, to my knowledge, was intelligence indicating that thousands of people were going to physically storm the United States Capitol in the middle of the constitutional process.”
“You can bet we’ve been taking a hard look at how we can be even more preemptive, even more aggressive, even more responsive to make sure we prevent something like this from happening again,” Wray continued. “And rest assured, Americans can rest assured, the FBI is fiercely determined to do our part with the other agencies to make sure that never happens again.”
“One of the things you learned was that these militia groups can organize and mobilize,” Pelley said.
“And that’s part of a broader phenomenon that we’ve seen in recent years, of a variety of anti-government, anti-authority violent extremists,” Wray said. “But much of the domestic terrorist threat we face doesn’t come from well-organized, structured, traditional groups. In many ways, the biggest and toughest terrorist threat facing Americans here at home comes from what are essentially loners.” . actors or people who conspire with one or two other people and use rudimentary methods of attack, a gun, a knife, a car So if you think about the expression that many Americans have heard about connecting the dots, for the type of attack that I’m describing, there aren’t many dots to connect.