WATCH: FBI Director Christopher Wray warns of ‘lone actors’ in Senate budget hearing

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before a Senate subcommittee Wednesday on the agency’s 2023 budget one day after a gunman shot and killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Watch the full event in the player above.

New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, chair of the subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, opened by thanking “the more than 36,000 employees of the FBI who protect our country from violent criminals, terrorists and others who would mean us great harm.” She noted that FBI agents assisted in “the horrific aftermath of the shooting” at the elementary school.

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She also called for background checks, as well as additional gun control legislation, and noted that the FBI’s request of $10.8 billion includes “additional resources for combating domestic terrorism and mass violence.”

Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, vice chair for the subcommittee, also said he mourned the “senseless act of violence.”

“Director Wray, I’m confident that you will bring the full investigative powers of the FBI to bear in determining the motives, the warnings, and how and why,” Moran said. “We await your findings.”

Moran linked the FBI’s budget request, which he said was an increase of 6 percent from the previous fiscal year, to an increase in violent crime across the country. He raised the specter of the Chinese government stealing American technology, and noted that he’s especially interested in how the FBI will address cybercrime and ransomware.

In his testimony, Wray also acknowledged the mass shooting.

“I know, of course, that we’re here to talk about the FBI’s budget. But like all of you, I want to begin with what’s on everybody’s hearts and minds. Yesterday we got the news that we all dread, including those of us in law enforcement,” Wray said.

“We do this work for the victims. Both the actual victims and the victims we’re trying to prevent from being victims. And there’s no category of victims that more motivates the men and women of law enforcement – including the men and women of the FBI – than children,” he added.

The FBI will continue to work with all law enforcement involved in Uvalde to assist in the investigation, Wray said, both on local and national levels.

Wray also noted that the range of threats to the nation – criminal, cyber and counterintelligence – is as broad as it’s ever been.

The FBI has been working combat international and domestic terrorism, as well as the rise in violent crime.

The threat of “lone actors” is what the FBI is “most concerned about here in the homeland.”

Wray said he can’t speculate on the motivation of the shooter in Uvalde, but he raised yet another mass shooting as an example.

“As the horrific attack a little over a week ago in Buffalo shows, we’ve got to continue to stay laser-focused on our efforts to counter violence motivated by hate and extremism.”

Internationally as well, lone actors or small groups inspired by the Islamic State prove to be problematic, as they move quickly and leave “fewer dots to connect.”

He also discussed rising violent crime, noting that the FBI works with local agencies to provide technical resources, lead task forces and “bring more violent criminals to justice.”

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