Judiciary Republicans Press FBI for Info on Hill Pipe Bomb Inquiry
WASHINGTON — The chairman and two Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee are pressing FBI Director Christopher Wray for information on the agency’s ongoing investigation into pipe bombs placed in a Capitol Hill neighborhood the night before the Jan. 6 riot.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance Chairman Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., assert in a letter to Wray that a whistleblower, identified as “a senior FBI official,” has come forward to claim the devices were inoperable and posed no real threat.
The alleged pipe bombs were placed near the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee on the evening of Jan. 5, 2021.
Initial statements said the pipe bombs were believed to have been functional.
The Judiciary Committee members also say the whistleblower report they’ve received also suggested the FBI linked the suspected bomber to a D.C. MetroRail SmarTrip card but has so far failed to identify the subject.
The Republicans say they are making their request for information as part of the oversight of the agency, and accuse Wray of ignoring their request that he brief them on what the letter characterizes as “the unusual nature” of the investigation.
“Specifically, the whistleblower disclosure revealed that the Washington Field Office asked FBI field offices to canvass all confidential human sources nationwide for information about the individual and the crime over a year after the placement of the bombs, and requested that the canvass ‘include sources reporting on all [types of] threats’ because the suspect’s ‘motive and ideology remain unknown,’” the congressmen write.
In regard to the MetroRail SmarTrip card, the Judiciary Committee members say the whistleblower revealed that the card was used “to travel through the Washington Metro system to a stop in Northern Virginia.”
They then go on to state that they’ve been told “the [FBI] used security camera footage from the Northern Virginia Metro stop to identify the license plate of a car that the individual entered.”
“Still, the FBI has not identified the subject. One former FBI assistant director observed, ‘[i]t just doesn’t add up … [t]here’s just too much to work with to not know who this guy is,’” they said.
“The slow progression of the FBI’s investigation into the Jan. 6 pipe bombs raises significant concerns about the FBI’s prioritization of that case in relation to other Jan. 6 investigations,” the congressman said in closing, reiterating their request for a briefing.
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