Gaetz Interrogates FBI Director Wray on Alleged Improper use of FISA

Gaetz Interrogates FBI Director Wray on Alleged Improper use of FISA

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
|
July 12, 2023

During the House Oversight Committee's hearing of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray, Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) laid it on thick into Director Wray, asking about the ongoing investigations into Hunter Biden and illegal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) queries.

Rep. Gaetz opened by quoting the alleged WhatsApp message by Hunter Biden to Chinese businessman Raymond Zhao using Joe Biden's then-position of Vice President as leverage for a favorable business deal.

"Sounds like a shakedown, doesn't it, Director?" asked Rep. Gaetz, following with a blunt, "Are you protecting the Bidens?"

While Director Wray answered, "Absolutely not," he did not acknowledge the message's source, prompting Gaetz to respond, "You won't answer the question about whether or not that is a shakedown, and everybody knows why you won't answer it."

The questioning turned to illegal usage of FISA queries conducted under Wray's tenure. According to Fox News, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) unsealed a document in May showing the FBI used warrantless search powers over 278,000 times against American citizens, which Gaetz suggested could be even higher.

Wray said he did not have the numbers with him, though Gaetz countered he should know as FBI Director.

Gaetz then played footage from the Senate Judiciary hearing in March 2021, where Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) asked if FISA was involved in the January 6th investigation, which Wray denied at the time. However, the FISC document proved otherwise.

"So I guess the question, Director Wray, is, did you not know when you were answering these questions that the FBI was engaging in these illegal searches? Or did you perjure yourself to Senator Lee?" inquired Gaetz.

Wray answered he did not know at the time.

"So the answer is the FBI has broken so bad that people can go and engage in queries that when you come before Congress to answer questions, you are blissfully ignorant. You are blissfully ignorant as to the unlawful queries. You are blissfully ignorant as to the Biden shakedown regime," came Gaetz's fiery response.

Moreover, Gaetz cited another court document alleging FBI agents using FISA queries for "improper personal reasons," to which Wray did not immediately respond.

"That's the kind of thing, Director Wray, that you preside over the FBI that has the lowest level of trust in the FBI's history. People trusted the FBI more when J. Edgar Hoover was running the place than when you are. And the reason is because you do not give straight answers. You give answers that later, a court deems untrue. And then at the end of the day, you won't criticize an obvious shakedown when it is directly in front of us and it appears as though you are whitewashing the conduct of corrupt people," Gaetz snapped.

Wray attempted a comeback by saying large numbers of Floridians are applying to work for the FBI, only for Gaetz to conclude, "We are deeply proud of them, and they deserve better than you."

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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