Our View | Garcia Tells It Like It Is to FBI Director

Our View

By The Signal Editorial Board

“I don’t trust you.”

— Rep. Mike Garcia, speaking to FBI Director Christopher Wray during a House Appropriations Committee hearing

Well, that needed to be said.

The Santa Clarita Valley’s congressman spoke about as bluntly as he could to FBI Director Christopher Wray this week during a House Appropriations Committee hearing in which Wray asked Congress to reauthorize a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that allows the government to engage in surveillance without obtaining a warrant. And, Wray warned of not only the increasing trafficking of fentanyl across our borders, but also an increasing threat of terrorism on U.S. soil.

Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, responded with a very clear message: Wray and the administration have facilitated those increased threats, and have rightfully lost the trust of millions of Americans by making us less safe.

After the hearing, Garcia posted a video of his comments to Wray on X, formerly known as Twitter, along with this message: “I was very direct with FBI Director Wray: I don’t trust him, and he’s failing to protect Americans from the national security and humanitarian crisis at our southern border. Under this administration there have been … 7.5 million illegal crossings; 1.7 million known ‘gotaways’; 350 terror watchlist encounters.”

Garcia added: “The crisis at our southern border is a man-made problem, and the men responsible need to start taking it seriously. Director Wray needs to get the president to secure the border now.”

You can see the full video of Garcia’s interaction with Wray at tinyurl.com/5fk86vmc.

Garcia asked Wray several direct questions, none of which received a direct answer. The congressman’s point was well-made, and it’s a viewpoint shared by many millions of Americans: Under President Joe Biden’s open-border policies, Americans’ security has been placed at greater risk.

Arriving very late to the party, Wray even acknowledged an increased terrorist threat this week, after spending the first several years under the Biden Administration insisting that violence from domestic white supremacists was America’s greatest security threat.

“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 said in his testimony to the committee on Thursday. “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.”

No kidding? And does the director think the many millions of unvetted border crossers may have anything to do with that increasing risk? Opponents of the administration’s border policies have been saying that since … well, pretty much since Biden threw open the southern border within a few nanoseconds of completing his oath of office.

But you won’t get a straight answer to such questions from Wray, or anyone else in the administration. And while they complain that a bipartisan border bill was killed by Republicans a couple of months ago, they ignore several very important and pertinent factors: One, the bill would allow 5,000 illegal crossings per day before its provisions would take effect; two, the border bill was tied to unrelated billions in spending, including aid for Ukraine and Israel that should be considered and voted upon as separate matters; and three, Biden opened the borders through executive fiat when he took office, undoing former President Donald Trump’s policies via executive order, no act of Congress needed.

Biden opened the border. He could close it. If he wanted to.

Meanwhile, Biden’s FBI director is asking for favorable budget consideration in the 2025 budget and for the reauthorization of Section 702 of FISA. 

Most Republicans oppose such reauthorization, in large part because of the Biden Administration’s abuses of such investigative tools to target its political rivals. 

But it’s not just Republicans. Here’s what the American Civil Liberties Union says on it: “Given our nation’s history of abusing its surveillance authorities, and the secrecy surrounding the program, we should be concerned that Section 702 is and will be used to disproportionately target disfavored groups, whether minority communities, political activists, or even journalists. Section 702 is set to expire at the end of 2023. We call on Congress to significantly reform the law, or allow it to sunset.”

It seems, then, that the ACLU — by no means a conservative organization — doesn’t trust the government any more than Garcia trusts the FBI director. 

We applaud the congressman for speaking so freely — looking Wray directly in the face. That’s not something one does lightly. Garcia told Wray that he believes he, along with Attorney General Merrick Garland, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Biden, have put Americans into a “clear and present danger situation.”

“I’ll be honest with you, and this pains me to say this, but I don’t trust you,” Garcia said to Wray as the congressman opened his remarks on Thursday. “I don’t think that this is necessarily a funding problem that we have for your agency as much as a leadership problem. Between the lack of transparency in hearings like this, and in intel hearings, your weaponization and politicization of issues and instruments of national security against innocent Americans, and against institutions like churches, and the fact that you have held no one truly accountable for prior FISA abuses that we have all seen and recognized … as the FBI director that you have stood relatively silent and passive about the biggest national security threat to our nation, that being our very open southern border … I give very little credence in either your ability to do this job or frankly lead the brave agents below you, and I don’t trust you to protect us.”

Garcia added: “Because of your inability to lead and also shape the policies of the (Department of Justice) and the White House, we are now in a more precarious position than we were, I would submit, than we were on Sept. 10 of 2001.”

Ominous. And spot-on.

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