In Thursday’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray was left groping for an explanation when Senator Josh Hawley asked him to explain the FBI’s request for concealed carry permit records in Hawley’s home state of Missouri.
Senator Hawley showed Wray a copy of the letter he sent the FBI Director last week and asked him to explain why the FBI was requesting to audit concealed carry permit information in Missouri. Wray looked uneasy at the question and sounded like groping for words to answer the question—which he didn’t.
Wray tried to convince Hawley that there was nothing unusual in such a request and that such an audit had been done before in Missouri in 2018, but he was fact-checked by Hawley, who reminded him that back then the FBI did not ask for concealed carry permit records. Hawley asked why the FBI was requesting this information now when Missouri law expressly forbids concealed carry permit records to be provided to any state or federal officials—these records are legally only available to the sheriffs.
Wray’s answer was a jumble of words as he tried to dodge the question, saying he’d follow up with Hawley with a more satisfying answer after looking deeper into the matter. Hawley repeated his question and Wray repeated his answer, explaining nothing but committing to follow up with the senator. Hawley told Wray that he was disappointed not to get an answer from him under oath. Hawley added:
Frankly, I don’t like the fact that the FBI is snooping around the concealed carry permit records of Missourians. I don’t like it at all.
Hawley then moved on to the issue of national security in the wake of the Biden administration’s botched evacuation from Afghanistan last year during which they brought planes full of Afghans into the United States as refugees. The senator referred to a Department of Defense (DOD) statement earlier this year that admitted that at least 50 Afghans let in the country as refugees were on its list of people with suspicious backgrounds, and that included possible terrorist acts. Since then a whistle-blower has come out and revealed that there are 324 Afghan individuals brought to the United States despite being on DOD’s biometrically enabled watchlist of potential threats to national security.
When Hawley asked Wray about how many of these suspected Afghan refugees had been vetted and/or apprehended by the FBI, he expressed ignorance and said he’d look at the details later and follow up with the senator. He admitted that the agency had to vet a lot of refugees in a very short period of time and it was “concerning.” Hawley replied that “concerning” was the least one could call it and expressed disappointment that the procedures ensuring national security were not followed, resulting in hundreds of potentially dangerous Afghans set loose in the country.
Christopher Wray had a difficult time giving clear answers to important questions asked by various Republican senators in addition to Josh Hawley—including Ted Cruz, Marsha Blackburn, Tom Cotton, John Kennedy, and Chuck Grassley. Wray either expressed ignorance or chose not to answer because the questions were about some ongoing investigations.
The New York Post noted that Wray was forced to admit Thursday under grilling from Republican senators that Hunter Biden’s criminal investigation was “deeply troubling.” The Democrat-chaired committee cut the Q&A short because Wray claimed he needed to catch a flight.