The FBI has been standing up to the heat from President Trump and Republicans over the Russia investigation, but their competency when it comes to actually doing their job is in question after it was revealed they failed to act on not one but TWO tips about Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who murdered 17 people in a Parkland, Florida high school on Wednesday.
FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted today in a statement that “protocols were not followed” when a classmate gave the agency a tip about Cruz in January, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The FBI had also failed to follow up properly on another tip about Cruz last September.
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Wray said in his statement today FBI agents had spoken, “with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy.”
In January, “a tipster who was close to Nikola Cruz called the FBI and provided information about Cruz’s guns and his erratic behavior,” reports the Associated Press, “including his expressed desire to kill people and his disturbing social media posts. The caller was concerned that Cruz could attack a school.”
In its statement today, the FBI acknowledged the tip should have been investigated thoroughly.
Last year, the FBI was notified in a phone call by Ben Bennight of Alabama about a comment on YouTube he had posted by a “Nikolas Cruz,” who wrote beneath the video “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”
Yesterday, Robert Lasky, the FBI agent in charge of the bureau in Alabama, confirmed they investigated that comment, but he said they were unable to identify him – even though he used his real name – and never linked him to the Cruz living in South Florida.
BREAKING: FBI received credible tips about Nikolas Cruz potentially committing a school shooting. FBI admits they did not follow protocol to investigate. pic.twitter.com/qXlm1oARcY
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) February 16, 2018
Considering the reputation and resources available to the FBI, this inability to determine who wrote that post only adds to the tragedy and raises a red flag for the future.
To make matters worse, the FBI revealed just last week that they were aware that serial rapist Larry Nassar was molesting his patients – and sat back and did nothing as he continued to molest young girls for an entire year.
We do not know, yet, how the FBI tried to track down the Cruz who openly admitted his plans to murder people in a school, or if they tried to look at his Facebook profile, or if the FBI reached out to Google, which owns YouTube for assistance.
Now that there are so many dead and wounded, it seems obvious that the FBI should have done all of that, and certainly should have followed up on the tip in January, so this matter needs further investigation to assure the “protocols” are followed in the future.
“All of the men and women of the FBI are dedicated to keeping the American people safe,” Wray promised in his statement today, “and are relentlessly committed to improving all that we do and how we do it.”
There were so many opportunities to forsee Cruz as a troubled youth even beyond the FBI – his mental health problems, his broken home, his behavior at school which led to him being expelled, yet the Republicans who rule at present in Washington have only thoughts and prayers to offer in response.
That was not enough before. It is not enough now.
The time for sensible gun controls – including laws to keep guns out of the hands of a troubled youth with a record of anti-social behavior – is now, but it will only happen when those who take donations and favors from the NRA and gun manufacturers are voted out of office.
Let’s hope that is a goal this November. It is time to elect those who can stand up for what is right and not for whoever gives the most money to their campaign coffers.