FBI to warn Congress about possible ‘organised attack’ in US after Russian concert hall shooting

The FBI is set to warn Congress about a possible “organised attack” in the US similar to the one that killed 144 people at a Russian concert hall last month.

“Looking back over my career in law enforcement, I’d be hard-pressed to think of a time where so many threats to our public safety and national security were so elevated all at once,” FBI director Christopher Wray is set to tell a House of Representatives panel during a budget hearing on Thursday. “But that is the case as I sit here today. This is not a point when we can let up.”

Mr Wray will tell lawmakers that US officials have previously been worried about the possibility of an attack carried out by an individual or small group inspired by the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, but the FBI is growing increasingly concerned about a more coordinated attack following the concert massacre in Russia.

Of increasing concern “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,” Mr Wray will say.

The March 22 attack on a concert hall in suburban Moscow was the deadliest in Russia in 20 years. A branch of the Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility, but Russian president Vladimir Putin, without citing evidence, has sought to blame Ukraine.

Mr Wray will argue at the hearing that the FBI needs fiscal support to “tackle these threats” to keep American citizens safe.

“This is a time when we need your support the most — we need all the tools, all the people, and all the resources required to tackle these threats and to keep Americans safe,” he will say.

He also plans to press lawmakers to renew a US surveillance program set to expire this month, calling it an indispensable tool against US adversaries.

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which monitors foreign nationals overseas, is set to expire on April 19.

A modest overhaul of that program was blocked in the House on Wednesday amid concerns from members of both parties that it did not go far enough in curbing the government’s surveillance powers.

“It’s critical in securing our nation, and we’re in crunch time,” Mr Wray plans to say.

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