FBI Director Christopher Wray dismissed criticism that has been heaped on the bureau, saying outside of Washington, the agency’s brand “couldn’t be higher.”
“What I try to tell our folks is that while there are a lot of opinions out there about us, the opinions that really matter are the opinions of a jury when one of our agents takes the stand or a judge when he’s being presented with a warrant or community leaders who are having to work side-by-side with our people,” Wray said in a USA Today interview published Tuesday.
Mr. Wray added that Americans outside of Washington still have a favorable view of the agency.
“Our brand — with those people — couldn’t be higher,” he continued. “The appreciation we get… I’ve been almost taken aback, but in a good away.”
The storied bureau has faced bipartisan criticism over recent months. Republicans claim the agency mishandled the justification for a spying on a Trump campaign figure and Democrats are furious at the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton over her email and private server while she headed the State Department.
There are also embarrassing allegations involving a slew of text messages from two officials who were having an affair and part of both the Clinton and Trump investigations, a top bureau official being fired two days before his retirement for misleading investigators and former FBI Director James Comey releasing a salacious tell-all book.
President Trump has tweeted that FBI’s “reputation is in tatters — worst in history” and publicly said the FBI has lost the confidence the American people.
Mr. Wray has pushed back against the criticism without specifically naming names. In February, he wrote an internal memo to bureau officials saying, “Talk is cheap; the work you do is what will endure. Remember: keep calm and tackle hard.”