FBI Chief Seeks $11.3 Billion Budget Amid ‘Elevated Threats’

Christopher Wray says budget request “will allow the FBI to invest resources in counterterrorism programs previously funded prior to the FY 2024 appropriation.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray presented the bureau’s $11.3 billion budget request for the 2025 fiscal year at a Senate hearing on June 4, a much-needed measure of support as his agents face a growing array of law enforcement and national security concerns.

“I’d first like to thank you for your support over the years of our efforts to achieve our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution,” Mr. Wray began his remarks before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“At the same time, I also realize the reality of the environment we’re in today where so many agencies are dealing with tightening budgets, and this year, the FBI has been one of those agencies with our fiscal year 2024 budget having now come in almost $500 million below what the FBI needs just to sustain our 2023 efforts. And while I very much appreciate this subcommittee’s efforts to blunt any cuts, candidly, this could not come at a worse time.”

Mr. Wray went on to say that while he presented many national security concerns during last year’s budgeting process, the threat of terrorism has reached “another level” following the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas attacks in Israel and the ensuing Israeli military response across the Gaza Strip.

The FBI director said the bureau also continues to see drug cartels trafficking fentanyl and other deadly narcotics across the U.S. southern border, hackers carrying out ransomware and other cyber attacks to disrupt critical infrastructure and businesses, and still too-high levels of violent crime since the COVID-19 pandemic era.

“When I look back over my career in law enforcement, I would be hard-pressed to think of a time when so many different threats to our public safety and national security were so elevated all at the same time,” he said.

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“But that is the case, as I sit here today. And while we have always found ways at the FBI to innovate and make the most with what we have, this is by no means a time to let up or dial back.”


Mr. Wray placed terrorism near the top of his list of concerns in a prepared statement for the June 4 hearing.

The FBI director said the top domestic terrorist threats come from what the bureau refers to as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists and anti-government or anti-authority violent extremists.

Mr. Wray also said the primary international terrorism risk comes in the form of homegrown violent extremists, which he defined as people located and radicalized to violence primarily in the United States, who aren’t receiving specific direction from foreign terrorist organizations (FTO), but who are inspired to commit violence by these FTOs.

“Our top concern stems from lone offenders inspired by—or reacting to—the ongoing Israel–Hamas conflict, as they pose the most likely threat to Americans, especially Jewish, Muslim, and Arab-American communities in the United States,” he said.

The FBI director said there’s no indication that Hamas—a U.S. and Israeli-designated Palestinian terrorist group—is seeking to carry out attacks inside the United States but the group’s sympathizers might instead carry out attacks on their own.

Mr. Wray said his 2025 budget request “will allow the FBI to invest resources in counterterrorism programs previously funded prior to the FY 2024 appropriation.”

Nation-State Threats

Mr. Wray said nations such as the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, and Iran “are becoming more aggressive and more capable than ever before.”

The FBI director said the PRC poses the greatest long-term threat to U.S. innovation and economic security—and, by extension, national security—through foreign intelligence and economic espionage.

“When it comes to economic espionage, the PRC uses every means at its disposal, blending cyber, human intelligence, diplomacy, corporate transactions, and other pressure on U.S. companies operating in the PRC, to steal our companies’ innovations,” he said.

“These efforts are consistent with the PRC’s expressed goals of becoming the preeminent power on the world stage through technology-enabled economic and military development.”

Mr. Wray said Russia and the North Korean government also rely on cyber attacks to target U.S. research or disrupt infrastructure.

The FBI director said the latest budget request includes $7 million to “enhance cyber response capabilities.” He said the budget request seeks another $17.5 million to support 44 new bureau positions relating to combating hostile foreign actions against the United States.

Organized Crime, Other Domestic Concerns

Mr. Wray said the 2025 budget request would also help the FBI to combat transnational criminal organizations, disrupt human trafficking and crimes against children, and bolster anti-gang task forces inside the United States.

“While the FBI continues to share intelligence about criminal groups with our partners and combines resources and expertise to gain a full understanding of each group, the threat of transnational crime remains a significant and growing threat to national and international security with implications for public safety, public health, democratic institutions, and economic stability across the globe,” he said.

An FBI agent walks toward a crime scene in Gilroy, Calif., on July 29, 2019. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
An FBI agent walks toward a crime scene in Gilroy, Calif., on July 29, 2019. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Concerning the exploitation of children, Mr. Wray said that an “explosion in incidents of children, teens, and adults being coerced into sending explicit images online and being extorted for money” represents a growing area of concern for the FBI.

Beyond organized crime, Mr. Wray said the FBI hopes to sustain a number of capabilities, such as forensics labs for tracing evidence, cataloging DNA samples, and storing biometric information.

He said another $8.4 million in the budget request would help address an increased volume of firearms background checks in recent years through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

“In the first complete month of operation in 1998, a total of 892,840 firearm background checks were processed. By contrast, in 2023, approximately 2.4 million checks were processed per month, for a total of 29.9 million processed last year,” Mr. Wray said.

The FBI director noted that a gun control measure passed in 2022, dubbed the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” included provisions that expand background checks.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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