Details are emerging about the FBI’s interest in Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen that reveal the government’s concern about what kind of a threat the shooter might be.
The FBI confirmed on Sunday it had interviewed the suspect in the Orlando, Fla., nightclub attack three times before the shooting took place early Sunday morning.An official said the FBI first became aware of the suspect, Omar Mateen, 29, in 2013 when he made “inflammatory comments to coworkers alleging possible terrorist ties.”
In the course of that investigation, Mateen was interviewed twice, but the FBI was unable to verify the substance of his comments.
Again in 2014, the FBI conducted an investigation into possible ties between Mateen and an American suicide bomber.
The FBI conducted another investigation, which included an interview with Mateen, but determined that the contact did not constitute a threat at that time.
The FBI said it is looking into any and all connections, both domestic and international to the shooting that killed 50 people and injured 53 at a crowded gay nightclub. Police said they do not have a second suspect they are actively looking for, and do not know of any “credible or singular threats that are facing the Orlando area or nationally.”
ISIS is taking credit for the attack online.
The agent at Sunday afternoon’s press briefing also confirmed reports that the shooter called 911 before the massacre, and said his remarks had general connections to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group.
The content of those calls is now federal evidence.
A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesperson said Mateen legally purchased 2 firearms — a handgun and a long gun, “within the past few days.”
There appears to be no doubt that Mateen was someone worth watching. But in the FBI’s defense, there are probably several hundred individuals that would meet that criteria.
The FBI are no doubt watching dozens of potential terrorists right now and know of the existence of a few terrorist cells. So how do they determine who’s a bigger threat that bears closer scrutiny?
There appears to be a lot of guesswork that goes into those decisions, which I suppose can’t be helped. But when the FBI makes a mistake like this, people die.
You have to think we can do a better job.