National security officials pressed on Afghanistan evacuation, southern border crossings

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — National security officials testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday on the threats facing the United States now, 20 years after 9/11.

The panel faced questions on the rise of domestic terrorism. FBI Director Christopher Wray said threats to the US are evolving especially at home.

“We are now at 2,700 domestic terrorism investigations when, if you went back two and half years ago, we’d probably be more at about 1,000,” he said.

Wray said he is also concerned about a rise in homegrown extremists influenced by foreign terrorist organizations following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“We anticipate a growth in both categories unfortunately as we look ahead over the next couple of years.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, voiced his concern for a resurgence of Al Qaeda in the region.

“Would you say again is our homeland safe or less safe?” Portman asked.

“It is a very dynamic environment right now,” Christine Abizaid, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Portman said.

Senators also focused on the border.

Republicans and Democrats pressed DHS Secretary Mayorkas about the recent images of agents aggressively rounding up Haitian migrants.

“We do not tolerate any abuse of a migrant,” Mayorkas said. “Period.”

Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, said he’s frustrated over the lack of data coming from DHS. Johnson said to Mayorkas he asked for a specific numbers of migrants over a year ago.

“And you committed to responding to congressional oversight and you have not done so,” he said.

Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., said he too is waiting for answers to his questions.

“Regardless of the administration’s party, the Senate has an obligation to conduct vigorous oversight,” Ossoff said.

“I intend to be assertive in receiving that information,” he added.

FBI Director Wray said Tuesday that, while things can be always be improved, he believes the agencies are on the right track.

“That’s important because the threats are only getting harder,” he said.

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