FBI Director Christopher Wray went silent Tuesday when questioned over whether the country was safer since President Biden took office.
“Is the United States safer from foreign terror threats today? Are we safer than when Joe Biden took office — from the day he took office?” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., asked Wray during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing.
Wray took an extended pause, sitting silently and appearing to be in deep thought before finally answering.
“What I would say to you is that the terror threats have elevated. But I also think there are a lot of things the country has done throughout law enforcement to be better prepared to deal with them,” he said, not directly saying whether the country had become safer under Biden’s watch.
“I asked FBI Director Wray a simple question: is the U.S. safer today than it was before [Joe Biden] took office? After nearly 10 seconds of silence, he finally admitted what we all know… ‘…the terror threats have elevated…'” Scott wrote on X following the hearing.
During the hearing Wray warned that the threat of a terror attack against Americans has been raised to a “whole other level” due to ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
“The reality is that the terrorism threat has been elevated throughout 2023, but the ongoing war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the United States to a whole other level,” Wray said.
Hamas launched a deadly terrorist attack against Israel on Oct. 7, leading to a military response from the U.S. ally. The conflict has renewed concern in the U.S. that there could be similar terror attacks inspired by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including by domestic and homegrown terrorists.
Following the hearing, the White House said it “couldn’t possibly answer” whether terrorists had already crossed over the southern border amid the ongoing crisis there and the increased security threats in the Middle East when pressed by Fox News.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.