The FBI director delivered a written testimony the US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in which he warned about the “threat from Unmanned Aircraft Systems [UAS] in the US is steadily escalating”.
He specifically looked at the use of technology by organisations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS, MS-13 and the Mexican drug cartels and concluded drones were something that “may encourage use of this technique in the US to conduct attacks”.
He said: “While there has been no successful malicious use of UAS by terrorists in the United States to date, terrorist groups could easily export their battlefield experiences to use weaponised UAS outside the conflict zone.
“The FBI assesses that, given their retail availability, lack of verified identification requirement to procure, general ease of use, and prior use overseas, UAS will be used to facilitate an attack in the United States against a vulnerable target, such as a mass gathering.”
Mr Wray added “this risk has only increased in light of the publicity associated with the apparent attempted assassination of Venezuelan President [Nicolás] Maduro using explosives-laden UAS”.
While US President Donald Trump mocked the Venezuelan government’s reaction to the attack, many experts have stated a similar attack on US soil is possible and the authorities may not be properly equipped to handle such a situation.
The FBI director cited one averted plot that involved drones in 2011.
Rezwan Ferdaus, a US Al-Qaeda sympathiser, planned to attack the Pentagon and Capitol building through the use of a remote-controlled plane.
He had planned on using his physics degree to equip the plane with an explosive device but , when he reached out to undercover FBI agents for supplies.
He was subsequently sentenced to 17 years in prison in 2012.
In 2013, a harmless drone landed extremely close to German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a rally.
Last August, French authorities “neutralised” a drone flying over French President Emmanuel Macron’s summer residence.
The FBI Director’s testimony was not the first time Mr Wray had warned legislators about the potential dangers of drones.
In 2017, he told the same committee: “I think we do know that terrorist organisations have an interest in using drones.
“We have seen that overseas already with some frequency.
“I think that the expectation is that it is coming here, imminently.”
In response to the growing concerns, the Federal Aviation Authority Reauthorisation Act of 2018 was passed last week in order to create rules and give federal authorities the ability to confiscate, disrupt and destroy any drones that are in violation.
Mr Wray praised the passage of the act as “championing critical authority”.