FBI Director Christopher Wray said this week that the FBI has more than 3,000 open terror investigations, in an exclusive interview with NBC News.
Wray said during the interview that countering terrorism – suspected ISIS threats, homegrown terrorists and domestic terrorism – top the list of concerns, according to NBC News.
Wray told NBC that tracking foreign espionage is also a priority, citing that the Chinese are a threat that has been considerably miscalculated.
The Chinese regime and Chinese corporations mark a number of U.S. targets, both small and large, in search of trade secrets, Wray said and Axios reported.
In February, Wray told Congress that Chinese businessmen, students and scholars present such a threat that it demands a “whole […] society” response by the U.S.
The remark was heavily criticized by some Asian-Americans groups, but Wray clarified.
“To be clear, we do not open investigations based on race, or ethnicity, or national origin. But when we open investigations into economic espionage, time and time again, they keep leading back to China,” Wray said in defense of the comment.
During the NBC interview, Wray said there was a significant 4-percent increase in violent crime during 2016.
Wray said contributing factors to this rise in crime stem from the opioid epidemic and an increase in violent gangs.
“In a country our size, a 4-percent increase is essentially equivalent to about 50,000 people. So imagine Yankee Stadium sold out, full of violent crime victims, and that’s the difference from one year to the next,” he said.
Wray became FBI director after James Comey was fired in May 2017. Wray says he plans to serve out the full 10-year term.
“All I am is focused on trying to see if I can make this place even better than when I found it,” Wray said.