FBI concedes it failed to avert Florida school shooting

The FBI is under attack for failing to act on tips that may have prevented the Florida high school massacre. 

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

The revelation that the FBI botched a potentially life-saving tip on the Florida school shooting suspect is a devastating blow to America’s top law enforcement agency.

The FBI received a tip last month that the suspect in the Florida school shooting had a “desire to kill,” had access to guns and could be plotting an attack. But the agency said Friday that agents failed to investigate.

The FBI’s acknowledgment that it mishandled the tip prompted a sharp rebuke from its boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and a call from Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott for FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign.

First it was revealed that the FBI failed to delve into a YouTube comment posted by a “Nikolas Cruz” that said, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” The FBI said it could not determine who made it.

Then on Friday, the bureau said it had failed to act on a tip that Cruz had a “desire to kill people,” posting disturbing social media posts and has access to a gun.

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Nikolas Cruz, who on Wednesday shot and killed 17 high school students in the Florida high school he had attended, advocated racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic views, which he expressed on social media. He also displayed an obsession with violence and guns and cruelty to animals.

‘Tragic consequence’ of the FBI’s failure

Sessions called the massacre a “tragic consequence” of the FBI’s failure. He ordered a review of the Justice Department procedures. The House Judiciary and Oversight committees demanded Wray brief them on what went wrong.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl) said it was “inexcusable” that the FBI did not follow protocols and urged Congress to launch its own investigation. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fl) promised to be in “close communication with the FBI so we can get to the bottom of this.”

Wray apologized in a rare statement, admitting the FBI’s missteps. But Scott, the governor, said that “isn’t going to cut it.”

“People must have confidence in the follow-through from law enforcement,” he said, calling for Wray to step down.

‘Somebody did not do their job’

In the Florida school shooting, “somebody made a mistake, somebody did not do their job,” said Jeffrey Ringel, a former FBI agent and Joint Terrorism Task force member who now works for the Soufan Group, a private security firm.

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“The FBI will be criticized for a failing that they have basically owned up to,” he said. “It’s a learning lesson. Unfortunately, a very expensive learning lesson.”

President Donald Trump lashed out at the FBI Saturday night, saying the agency “missed all of the many signals” sent by the suspect in the Florida school shooting and arguing they are “spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.”

Trump said on Twitter: “This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”