12 June 2016

Maybe If the FBI Spent More Time Pursuing Real Terrorists, and Less Time Manufacturing Them for High Profile Arrests………

We don't know everything now, but what we do know is that a gunman murdered 50 people at a gay bar in Tampa, Florida, and that he contemporaneously made ISIS claims:
A man who called 911 to proclaim allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group, and who had been investigated in the past for possible terrorist ties, stormed a gay nightclub here Sunday morning, wielding an assault rifle and a pistol, and carried out the worst mass shooting in United States history, leaving 50 people dead and 53 wounded.

The attacker, identified by law enforcement officials as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old who was born in New York, turned what had been a celebratory night of dancing to salsa and merengue music at the crowded Pulse nightclub into a panicked scene of unimaginable slaughter, the floors slicked with blood, the dead and the injured piled atop one another. Terrified people poured onto the darkened streets of the surrounding neighborhood, some carried wounded victims to safety, and police vehicles were pressed into service as makeshift ambulances to rush people to hospitals.

Joel Figueroa and his friends “were dancing by the hip-hop area when I heard shots, bam, bam, bam,” he said, adding, “Everybody was screaming and running toward the front door.”
Of course, we have calls for effective gun control, but, as always, we can expect them to come to nothing.

Here is what we know so far:
  • He worked for G4S, a UK based private security firm which is big into (among other unsavory things) the private prison system.
  • He had previously been under investigation by the FBI.
  • He bought the guns used recently.
  • This is the largest mass shooting in US history.
  • The shooter was a big fan of the New York Police Department repeatedly posting selfies of himself in NYOPD gear.
I tend to think that gay bashing was at the core of the shooting, though in what is probably an unrelated event, an Indiana man drove to West Hollywood with a car full of bombs and guns to attack a gay pride parade:
Police in Santa Monica, California, arrested a man intent on attacking a nearby gay pride parade on Sunday, hours after a terrorist opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing at least 50 and wounding over 50 more people in the worst mass shooting attack in modern U.S. history.

20-year-old James Wesley Howell was arrested in Santa Monica after assault rifles and chemicals capable of creating an explosive device were found in his vehicle early Sunday morning, police say. He reportedly admitted to officials that he was planning to “harm” the West Hollywood gay pride parade that was taking place about seven miles away later Sunday.
The most obvious point to made here is that the FBI has been too busy engaging in sting operations against people who constitute no meaningful threat to actually do their job on real threats:
The attack on a gay club in Orlando in which 50 people were killed and more than 50 wounded — now the largest mass shooting in U.S. history — demonstrates how potential threats are escaping the FBI’s vast counterterrorism dragnet.

While it’s unclear whether gunman Omar Mateen’s inspiration was hatred of gays, the Islamic State, or something else, attackers like him are the intended targets of the FBI’s post-9/11 prevention program. Federal law enforcement’s top priority today is to stop the attacker of tomorrow.

But Mateen’s mass shooting is an example of how dangerous men slip past the FBI’s watch while federal agents focus on targets of questionable capacity.


According to The Daily Beast, whose reporter quoted an unnamed “senior law enforcement source,” Mateen was a person of interest to the FBI in 2013 and again in 2014. The Intercept has been unable confirm independently from sources that Mateen had been under FBI investigation during those years.

If the FBI had in fact investigated Mateen, his capacity for violence would have been easily verified: He had a state firearms license.

With connections to homes in Martin and St. Lucie counties, Mateen would have fallen under the jurisdiction of the FBI’s Miami office, which has among the bureau’s most active and aggressive counterterrorism units.

The Miami FBI investigated the so-called Liberty City 7 in one of the earliest and most controversial post-9/11 counterterrorism stings, and prosecutors in Florida’s Southern District have prosecuted dozens on terrorism related charges in the last 15 years.


For more than a year ending in April — a time during which investigators will now be looking for any clues from Mateen that might have been missed — the FBI in Miami focused on a counterterrorism sting that targeted James Medina, a homeless man with mental problems.


According to the FBI’s affidavit, the informant, not Medina, came up with the idea of crediting the planned attack to the Islamic State.

“You can do all that,” Medina told the informant. “Yeah, we can print up or something and make it look like it’s ISIS here in America. Just like that.”

Does the FBI’s focus on men like Medina and Suarez — questionable targets of questionable mental fitness — prevent agents from identifying and investigating armed and dangerous men like the one behind what is now America’s worst mass shooting?

It’s a question the FBI, which has faced little congressional scrutiny over its counterterrorism program, has never been forced to answer.

The Orlando shooting isn’t the first case to raise this question. In 2011, when the FBI investigated Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, agents did not deem him a threat.

Instead, at about the same time, the Boston FBI started a nine-month sting operation against Rezwan Ferdaus, who had no weapons and no connections to international terrorists, and whose mental wellness had deteriorated so much that he was wearing adult diapers at the time of his arrest on terrorism charges.
I've not heard about a successful FBI counter-terrorism operation that did not involve them using informants to manufacture the a high profile arrest in a very long time.

It's pretty clear that the FBI desperately needs some adult supervision.


Post a Comment