Christopher Wray
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, D.C.
April 27, 2023

Director's Opening Statement to the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Remarks as prepared.

Good afternoon, Chairman Rogers, Ranking Member Cartwright, and Members of the Subcommittee.

There’s no question that today’s threats are more sophisticated and move more quickly than ever before.

To stay ahead of them, we’ve requested important enhancements to our budget that will help us tackle the wide range of threats we face, and I look forward to discussing those with you today.

Let me start with cyber. Today’s cyber threats are more pervasive, hit a wider variety of victims, and carry the potential for greater damage than ever before.

Take China—a key part of the Chinese government’s multi-pronged strategy to lie, cheat, and steal their way to surpassing us as the global superpower is cyber. The scale of the Chinese cyber threat is unparalleled—they’ve got a bigger hacking program than every other major nation combined and have stolen more of our personal and corporate data than all other nations—big or small—combined.

To give you a sense of what we’re up against, if each one of the FBI’s cyber agents and intel analysts focused exclusively on the China threat, Chinese hackers would still outnumber FBI Cyber personnel by at least 50 to 1. 

But, of course, China’s not the only challenge in cyberspace—not even close. We’re investigating over 100 different ransomware variants, each with scores of victims, as well as a host of other novel threats posed by both cybercriminals and nation-state actors—in addition to China, countries like Russia, Iran, and North Korea. And it’s getting more and more challenging to discern where the nation-state threat ends and the cybercriminal threat begins.

Recently, we’ve seen cyberattacks targeting the critical infrastructure and services that ordinary Americans rely on everyday — places like hospitals, schools, and 911 call centers. And the FBI’s got investigations into destructive attacks like these all over the country, in communities large and small, which is why, in this year’s budget request, you’ll see our need for 192 more cyber positions and a little over $63 million.

We’ll put those critical resources toward ensuring the FBI remains the world’s premier cyber investigative agency, by taking the fight to our adversaries through joint, sequenced operations and rapid information sharing with the private sector, by building out our model cyber squads, each tackling multiple threats, in more field offices—placing investigators, analysts, and other key professionals close to the victims that need us, and by providing our workforce with critical, cutting-edge training.

Our opponents in this space are relentless; we need your help to ensure we’ve got the resources to keep responding in kind.

Switching gears—almost every week, I’m speaking with chiefs and sheriffs all over the country to discuss the threats we’re fighting together, and I can tell you, in those discussions, the number one issue is always the same: violent crime.

Last year, working with our state and local partners through our hundreds of FBI-led violent crime task forces, we arrested more than 20,000 violent criminals—that’s an average of 55 bad guys taken off the streets per day, every day. 

As part of our FY 24 budget, we’re requesting an increase to build on our efforts to combat the rising violent crime affecting so many communities all over the country. A big part of that will also go toward our investigations of crimes against children and human trafficking. Every year, the FBI and our partners identify and locate thousands of victims of child exploitation and human trafficking The enhancement we’ve requested will allow us to add even more personnel to that vital effort.

Finally, I’ve described the threat of gangs and cartels moving Fentanyl and other deadly substances across the border, and into communities all over the country, as a threat of epidemic proportion. We’re now pursuing investigations against transnational organized criminal groups in all 56 FBI field offices and have more than 300 active investigations into cartel leadership. On top of that, we’re leveraging international partnerships through our Legal Attaché offices to enhance investigations and gather and share intelligence, and we’re actively participating in six OCDETF Strike Forces along the border. And though we’re not the agency tasked with the physical security of our borders, we’re committed to doing our part to work with our partners to tackle these very real and very serious threats.

As part of that effort, we’ve asked for $53 million, in part, to keep pace with the seven-fold increase in DNA samples from individuals crossing the border, that we’re testing on behalf of DHS. Over the past couple years, we’ve provided critical DNA testing support to 223 investigations—including more than a hundred sexual assaults and a dozen homicides—based on matches from DNA samples collected at the border by Customs and Border Protection.

We expect that volume to increase as border crossings increase, and need your support to continue to process these samples, which so often provide the missing piece of the puzzle to solve serious violent crimes that might otherwise go unsolved if we’re not able to process those border-crossing DNA samples.

I’ve barely scratched the surface. The breadth and depth of the threats the American people look to us to protect them from is staggering. And I’m proud to be here today representing the 38,000 men and women of the FBI who work tirelessly and selflessly to meet that challenge, every day. Thank you for your support of our men and women in helping us carry out that mission, and I’m happy to answer any questions you have.