Wray: Arresting Pro-Life Activist at Home Followed Processes

During an interview with the Fox News Channel released on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that the arrest of Mark Houck for charges of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act that he was later acquitted of at his home followed FBI processes to his knowledge.

Host Bret Baier asked, [relevant exchange begins around 10:40] “Mark Houck, Pennsylvania pro-life activist arrested at his home in front of his family for an alleged violation of the [Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act], an alleged incident in which he was protesting in front of an abortion clinic. He was recently acquitted of all charges at trial. The show of force for that arrest, a lot of people said looked like what it looked like for a cartel boss who was holed up, that decision to use that force, was that by the book?”

Wray answered, “Those decisions are made, as they should be, by the commanders on the ground in the field office who have the expertise about when to conduct operations safely and securely for the safety of everybody involved, not just their own safety and the safety of the subject who’s being arrested, but anybody else who’s around. And, to my knowledge, those processes were all followed in this case.”

Baier then said, “Historically, FBI protocol is that a defendant has — if he has no criminal history, is not believed to be violent or pose a threat to public safety, that he or she is permitted to self-surrender rather than [be] subject [to] dynamic execution of an arrest warrant. Here’s what I’m talking about is the duel system, there’s that for a pro-life activist, but not that for a Black Lives Matter protestor who maybe torches a federal building over the summer. So that disparity, that dichotomy is what sticks in people’s mind if you listen to them.”

Wray responded, “I understand that people have their opinions. All I can tell you is that we have one standard, which is, irrespective of ideology, of politics, in this country, it doesn’t matter what you’re upset about or who you’re upset with, you don’t get to express that upset with violence. And so, we are agnostic as to the ideology and focused on the violence. And I will say, as to your description of FBI protocol, it is not unheard of for the FBI, for example, to use tactical agents, for example, — which is not what happened in Pennsylvania, by the way — for even a white-collar arrest. There are situations where white-collar arrests have resulted in shootings. So, there [are] a whole lot of things that [go] into the judgment about what is the way to conduct arrests safely and securely that are made, I think appropriately, by the career agents on the ground who have the closest visibility to the circumstances and the FBI has a long history of conducting those operations with a far better track record of safety than a lot of other agencies, precisely because those people take it so seriously and so meticulously.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.