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Obama, Clinton Say 'Disarm' While Failing to Protect

The mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub that claimed 50 lives has once again revived the question of how the authorities could have missed warning signs from a perpetrator.

The FBI first became aware of Omar Mateen in 2013 when he made comments to coworkers "alleging possible terrorist ties." The feds interviewed Mateen three times in connection with his remarks -- which may have assumed more than casual importance in light of his employment by a security company that guards government buildings, and Mateen's ambitions to become a police officer.

Mateen was later removed from a terror watchlist after it was determined that he had broken no laws. The rest is history.

It joins abundant precedent. The father of the so-called underwear bomber warned by U.S. authorities of his son's intentions to attack America, but they fell through the cracks.

The Russian government warned U.S. authorities the Boston Marathon bombers were radical Islamists more than a year and a half before they killed many and maimed more. As with Mateen, the feds found that no laws were violated. The brothers were sent on their way until they reappeared with a blast.

The Pentagon failed to recognize numerous signs that Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan was up to no good and communicating with terrorists.

The extensive arsenal, recent Middle East travel, and correspondence with Islamist extremists of Syed Rizwan Farook did nothing to alarm the FBI before he and his wife massacred 14 people at a Christmas party in San Bernardino.

The famous complaint of Admiral David Beatty at Jutland -- "something is wrong with our bloody ships today" -- surely must apply to the State Department after 600 requests for security upgrades from the Benghazi consulate failed to rouse Secretary Clinton to action. When asked how she could fail to see a telegraphed punch, Clinton could only say: "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

The most disturbing aspect of recent terror attacks is that the authorities were taken by surprise each time despite advance warning. This serial failure undercuts the administration's claim to competence.