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Wray: FBI opens investigation into China every 10 hours

Wray: FBI opens investigation into China every 10 hours
© Greg Nash

FBI Director Christopher Wray told Senate Intelligence Committee members on Wednesday that the agency is opening an investigation into various Chinese government actions every 10 hours.

“We're opening a new investigation into China every 10 hours, and I can assure the committee that's not because our folks don't have anything to do with their time," Wray said at the committee’s annual worldwide threats hearing.

“We have now over 2,000 investigations that tie back to the Chinese government,” he added. 

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Wray’s comments came in response to a question from Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDemocrats cool on Crist's latest bid for Florida governor Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (R-Fla.) on Chinese and Russian influence efforts.

“I don't think there is any country that presents a more severe threat to our innovation, our economic security and our democratic ideas. And the tools in their toolbox to influence our businesses, our academic institutions, our governments at all levels are deep and wide and persistent,” Wray said, referring to China.

The Department of Justice late last year charged multiple individuals for their alleged attempts to threaten, coerce or harass certain residents of the U.S. to repatriate to China, following an FBI investigation.

Eight individuals were charged with conspiring to act in the U.S. as illegal agents of the People’s Republic of China, with six of the defendants also facing charges for conspiring to commit interstate and international stalking.

Wednesday’s hearing is the first worldwide threats hearing in two years, after some Trump administration officials refused to participate in 2020, with lawmakers Wednesday asking a number of questions about threats from China.

The sharp analysis of China comes amid an uptick of hate crimes against Asian Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“As we grapple with the challenges posed by a rising China, our problem is with the Chinese Communist Party, not with the people of China or the Chinese diaspora globally, and certainly not with Asian Americans here in the United States,” Chair Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerFacebook board decision on Trump ban pleases no one Schumer works to balance a divided caucus's demands Senate Intel vows to 'get to the bottom' of 'Havana syndrome' attacks MORE (D-Va.) said at the start of the committee's hearing.