Fact Check: Did Christopher Wray Say White Supremacy is Biggest Domestic Terror Threat?

FBI Director Christopher Wray condemned the violence of the Capitol riot on January 6 while testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and said the FBI so far has arrested more than 270 individuals allegedly involved. Overall, more than 300 have been arrested.

"As citizens, in a sense, we're all victims of the January 6 assault," Wray said.

The Claim

On Tuesday, a Twitter user wrote: "At today's hearing about Jan 6th, FBI Director Wray stated very clearly that white supremacy is the biggest terrorist threat in the country. He said white supremacy is a 'persistent, evolving threat' and the 'biggest chunk' of racially motivated violent extremism in the U.S."

At today's hearing about Jan 6th, FBI Director Wray stated very clearly that white supremacy is the biggest terrorist threat in the country. He said white supremacy is a "persistent, evolving threat" and the "biggest chunk" of racially motivated violent extremism in the U.S. pic.twitter.com/a6mBUJAis2

— Raleigh-Apex NAACP (@RaleighApex) March 2, 2021

Another user posted something similar: "The Wray hearing has really stirred up the magat & Russian bots. They are still trying to deny what MAJORITY America knows, white supremacists domestic terrorists are the biggest security threat to America, failed ex president 45 is their leader & GOP supports them," on Tuesday.

The Wray hearing has really stirred up the magat & Russian bots. They are still trying to deny what MAJORITY America knows, white supremacists domestic terrorists are the biggest security threat to America, failed ex president 45 is their leader & GOP supports them.

— L treetex (@AnnabelleT53) March 2, 2021

The Facts

During Wray's testimony, he detailed the many current, diverse threats to American society such as domestic and international terrorism, threats against law enforcement, cybersecurity and counterintelligence threats from China.

He pointed out how the issue of domestic terrorism has been a problem for the U.S. for a long time and that it is not going to disappear soon.

"So whenever we've had the chance, we've tried to emphasize that this is a top concern and remains so for the FBI," Wray said about domestic terrorism.

"In fact, we've viewed it as such a critical threat that back in June of 2019 under my leadership, we elevated racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism to our highest threat priority on the same level with ISIS and homegrown violent extremists where it remains to this day."

When Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asked Wray if he believed that the Capitol riot involved white supremacists and other violent extremists, Wray said that the Capitol riot involved violent extremists, considered to be domestic terrorists, who had a variety of backgrounds.

He said that some of the arrested individuals from January 6 were militia violent extremists, such as those who identify as members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, while others were categorized as racially motivated violent extremists "who advocate for what you would call white supremacy," Wray said.

Shortly after, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Wray if he stood by his testimony that white supremacist extremism is the dominant and most persistent force of domestic terrorism threats today.

"I would certainly say, as I think I've said consistently in the past, that racially motivated violent extremism specifically of the sort that advocates for the superiority of the white race is a persistent evolving threat," Wray said. "It's the biggest chunk of our racially motivated violent extremism cases for sure and racially motivated violent extremism is the biggest chunk of our domestic terrorism portfolio."

Regarding the greatest terrorism threat that America faces, Wray said it "is largely lone actors, some cases small cells, if you will, largely radicalized online, already here in the United States attacking soft targets using crude, readily accessible weapons motivated either by jihadist inspirations or by a variety of domestic inspirations."

He elaborated that of this overall terrorism threat are the internationally inspired homegrown violent extremists "which are the jihadist-inspired," and the domestic violent extremists "inspired by domestic sources." Both groups have a lot in common, Wray said.

Later in the hearing, Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) asked Wray if the FBI and law enforcement have the ability to screen for spies regarding individuals coming from China that are a part of the Chinese Communist Party.

"I will tell you that the Chinese counterintelligence threat is the greatest threat—certainly the greatest counterintelligence threat—that we face as a country," Wray said.

The Ruling

True.

Wray said that the greatest terrorism threat to America comes from lone actors who are the internationally inspired homegrown violent extremists "which are the jihadist-inspired," and the domestic violent extremists "inspired by domestic sources."

Racially motivated violent extremism cases are the biggest part of the FBI's domestic terrorism portfolio. White supremacy is the biggest part of its racially motivated violent extremism cases.

China, US, charges, FBI, fox hunt, corruption
FBI Director Christopher Wray takes part during a virtual news conference at the Department of Justice on October 28, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Wray on March 2, 2021, testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. SARAH SILBIGER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images/Getty