FBI Defends Crisis Pregnancy Center Investigations: 'We Take It Very Seriously'
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Since June's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, government powers in Washington have faced criticism for a lack of interest, much less action, following attacks against more than 60 pro-life organizations.
Now, months after many of the crimes, FBI Director Christopher Wray is speaking directly to it.
"We take it very seriously," he said at a Nov. 15th hearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
Wray responded to concerns that Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) raised, noting "worries the FBI is weaponizing as a partisan tool."
"I firmly believe that the FBI is going about its work, doing the right thing in the right way," Wray responded.
Since the high court abortion ruling, religious liberty advocates like the Religious Freedom Institute have documented more than 63 attacks on pro-life groups such as crisis pregnancy centers and Catholic churches.
Wray condemned violence against these groups and pro-choice organizations as well.
"I don't care what side of the issue you're on," he said. "You don't get to engage in violence."
Wray cited a robust effort in the FBI's investigation, referencing 20 field offices involved, as well as joint terrorism task forces.
Wray's comments come in contrast to months of silence regarding the investigations.
In September, the Religious Freedom Institute noted the lack of official condemnation, warning that it could encourage more violence because of a passive law enforcement posture.
"What's been so striking to us is the non-response from federal law enforcement, from many elected officials and from the media as well and what it's really contributing to is a culture of impunity," said Nathaniel Hurd. "We know both here in the U.S. and abroad that whenever religious groups, religious communities, organizations are attacked and there isn't accountability for the criminals that are doing it, attacks over time likely increase in deadliness, danger and threat."
That pressure plus outcry from pro-life groups may have motivated Wray to speak. Some pro-life leaders like Rev. Jim Harden, however, aren't buying the FBI director's timing.
"There's disingenuousness there, and it comes after the mid-term elections," he said.
Harden is the CEO of CompassCare Pregnancy Services in Buffalo, New York. On June 7th, criminals firebombed and spray painted the CompassCare offices.
More than five months later, on November 14th, the FBI finally released surveillance video from the attack and offered a $25,000 reward for information in its arson investigation.
Harden believes it's too little too late.
"It's naïve to think that the largest law enforcement agency on the globe with the best forensic technology known to man does not know who is perpetrating these crimes," he told CBN News.
The FBI has not offered any rewards in the other attacks on pro-life groups, nor has it released the names of any suspects or announced any arrests. That's leading to frustration and ongoing safety concerns among the targeted groups.
Its ability to make arrests could help to ensure the safety of these organizations and assure the public that it's not partial towards one side or the other.
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