WASHINGTON – Concern has been raised as to why Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, who massacred 49 people at a local bar after having been interviewed twice in 2013 and 2014 by the FBI about terrorism, wasn’t on its radar to prevent a weekend shooting spree that also wounded 53 others, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Ron Kessler, who has written books on the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service, told G2 Bulletin that the FBI has institutional limits imposed on it to preclude continued surveillance and investigations on someone like Mateen, who swore allegiance to the Islamic State in a 9-1-1 phone call to police during the shooting.
In the phone call, he also purportedly referred to the Tsarnaev brothers, two Islam-inspired extremists who set off bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
On April 15, 2013, Tamerlan Anzorovich Tsarnaev and his brother, Dzhokhar, planted two pressure-cooker bombs in the crowd, causing them to explode, killing three people and wounding 264 others.
In the initial press conference following last Sunday’s shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Club, FBI agent Ronald Hopper confirmed that Mateen, a 29-year-old natural-born U.S. citizen of Afghan parents, had been interviewed in 2013 and 2014 following alleged inflammatory comments he made to co-workers expressing ties to terrorists.
Hopper said investigators were unable to verify the details of his comments even though the FBI said it conducted surveillance, checked records and interviewed Mateen and witnesses.
Experts agree, however, that the bar is set too high when it comes to the FBI being able to investigate an allegation.
U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., in an interview with Fox News, said the Obama administration has tied the hands of the FBI with “political correctness.”
In addition, the guidelines also make clear that, notwithstanding the fact that the terrorists the U.S. is battling today are Muslim, there can be no particular attention paid to a suspect’s religious beliefs.
The DOJ guidelines to which Kessler referred allows for three levels of national security investigations according to threat assessments, preliminary investigations and full investigations.
“The Justice Department guidelines preclude the FBI from continuing an investigation if an individual embraces terrorism but shows no indication he intends to commit a criminal act,” Kessler said.
Kessler was referring specifically to the Attorney General’s Guidelines for FBI National Security Investigations and Foreign Intelligence Collection.
Kessler said that if the DOJ guidelines preclude FBI follow-up, especially in light of the Orlando shooting, they need to be re-examined to allow the FBI to continue monitoring the activities of those who initially had come under investigation.