FBI director warns of 'attacks' on American soil

Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Christopher Wray speaks during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on the fiscal year 2025 budget request for the FBI. Wray asked Congress to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a measure previously blocked by House Republicans. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

April 11 (UPI) -- FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Congress on Thursday about potential attacks on U.S. soil due to events overseas.

"Our most immediate concern has been that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home," Wray told the House Appropriations Committee. "But now increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the homeland, akin to the ISIS-K attack we saw at the Russia Concert Hall a couple weeks ago."

Wray called on Congress to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which sets the framework for the government to collect communications of non-Americans overseas who are using U.S.-based platforms without the use of a warrant.

The effort was defeated by allies of former President Donald Trump Wednesday after Trump urged the GOP to "Kill FISA" in a in a social media post.

Conservative House Republicans are opposed to reauthorizing the measure without an amendment requiring the intelligence community to obtain a warrant to access the data of Americans.

The ACLU and other civil liberties groups have also called for similar reforms, saying Section 702 allows the government to engage in "mass, warrantless surveillance of Americans' and foreigners' phone calls, text messages, emails, and other electronic communications."

Congress voted on a bill on Wednesday, but it didn't include the warrant amendment. Wray testified Thursday to discuss the FBI's budget, which is facing a $500 million decrease. House Republicans have cut the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies' budgets. Wray asked Congress to fund the agency through 2025.