WASHINGTON, July 14, 2016 – A month after the tragic shooting in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub, observers are still asking how someone on the FBI’s radar could have purchased weapons and killed 49 people.
The FBI had spoken with Omar Mateen, the shooter, three separate times. On three occasions, the FBI found “no evidence of wrongdoing” and released Mateen. They released him despite the fact that he admitted he lied to agents, that witnesses said he made numerous threats, and that two confidential informants recorded questionable conversations with him.
The FBI specifically released Mateen because there was no indication he had ties to ISIS, Al-Qaeda or any other terrorist group. Even though he pledged allegiance to a host of competing terrorist organizations just before the attack, there is still no evidence he actually had ties to any group or that he was even in contact with jihadists.
Instead, Mateen was a mentally unstable individual who elected to identify with radical Islamic terrorist groups as an excuse for his violent rage.
Even so, how could the FBI meet with him three times and not recognize the simmering danger?
The answer: Intelligence failure.
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