The FBI ‘Missed’ Orlando Shooter Omar Mateen. What Should We Do?

If I had to choose one phrase to sum up America’s efforts against terrorism since 9/11, it would be that lay definition of mental illness, doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

Following 9/11 we had to go after the terrorists in their dark lairs. So we did, in Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Libya, then Yemen, then by militarizing Africa, the Iraq again and then Syria. We’ve been bombing and invading places in the Middle East continuously since 9/11, every day expecting different results.

Literally days after 9/11, it was felt that the problem was the government did not know enough about what was happening inside the U.S. vis-vis terrorists, so the vast capabilities of the NSA and FBI were pointed inward. From a relatively modest start, we advanced to Snowden-esque levels where every phone call, every email and every GPS-tracked move of everyone is monitored, every day expecting different results.

When it seemed we did not have the intelligence and enforcement tools needed, we created a new cabinet level agency, the Department of Homeland Security. That quickly grew into one of the largest bureaucracies in America. We created terror fusion centers, staffed up at the FBI and CIA, every day expecting different results.

Orlando Shooter Omar Mateen

And that of course brings us to Orlando Shooter Omar Mateen, whom the FBI stalked for 10 months, interviewed twice and then ignored. Through that we learned that there are some 10,000 FBI terrorism investigations open, with new cases added daily as Americans are encouraged to see something and say something. TheNew York Times tells us tens of thousands of counterterrorism tips flow into the FBI each year, some maybe legitimate, others from “vengeful ex-spouses or people casting suspicion on Arab-Americans.”

The flood of leads is so relentless that counterterrorism agents hung a section of fire hose outside their offices in Northern Virginia as a symbol of their mission.

Intelligence Surge, or a Surge of Intelligence?

So having missed the Orlando shooter, the Boston Marathon bombers, angry white anti-abortion shooters here and there, the answer is obvious. We need more FBI resources (Hillary Clinton has already called for an “intelligence surge”), of course every day thereafter expecting different results.

It is almost as if by trying to track every branch, leaf and dirt clod in the forest we are missing the trees. By running down every panicked tip (can you imagine how many calls have come in since Sunday in Orlando?) as a CYA exercise, we get bitten in the YA part over and over.

The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept. If so many are terrorists in one form or another, how can anyone pinpoint the real bad guys, should many of them exist at all?

By imagining we can track everyone and then sort them out, we are leaving outside the door the discussion of just why terrorists seem to keep attacking the U.S. Could it have something to do with our scorched earth policy in the Middle East?

By becoming terrified of every brown-skinned person and Muslim in America, we are leaving outside the door the discussion of how throwing innocent people off planes, maintaining secret no-fly lists, spying on whole communities, and giving media platforms to every nut job that wants to rant about what they don’t know but hate anyway about Islam might be helping “radicalize” folks here at home and abroad.

And certainly never admitting that our culture of easily available weaponry might play a role shuts down any useful discussions about gun control.

I am sure it is reasonable to expect different results by tomorrow.

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.

9 thoughts on “The FBI ‘Missed’ Orlando Shooter Omar Mateen. What Should We Do?”

  1. Americans are too content to invoke the true meaning of the 2nd Amendment, but at the same time are motivated enough to try and keep it intact. How long that will remain the case is anyone’s guess.

  2. Violence is not about guns. We live in a society that glorifies violence of all sorts! How can you be surprised that that violence we glorify pours into our streets?

  3. The Omar Mateen case may represent an evolution in the standard FBI “sting” approach to creating terrorists and terrorist “plots.”

    Consider: The feebs had this (arguable) Islamist degenerate in their crosshairs for quite awhile, to at least “preponderance-of-evidence” standards, and then “closed” their investigations for “lack” of evidence.

    Add this: The case closures were “official,” but did not really happen. Knowing the high probability that this loose Islamist/homophobic/homosexual(?) cannon would probably go postal sooner than later, in some target-rich venue, the feebs merely let a likely scenario play out as was expected–or hoped.

    Result: A case perfectly wrapped up with no (or very little) sting needed.

  4. The FBI can’t even get it right when it doesn’t miss a terrorist plot. Witness the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. The FBI knew of the plot long before it was carried out. They had the names of the conspirators and knew how they planned to attack the WTC. They knew because they had an informant, Emad Salem, associated with the plot giving them information.

    The FBI planned to replace the chemicals the terrorists were going to use to construct the bomb with an inert powder. Then when the bomb was placed and failed to go off the FBI was going to quickly arrest all of the conspirators. The only problem was that the FBI failed to replace the chemicals, a real bomb was placed in the WTC underground garage and exploded, and most of the conspirators, including Ramzi Yousef, were able to flee the U.S. before they could be arrested.

    1. When you stop and consider WHO PROFITS from acts of violence like the
      one in Orlando, it puts a whole new light on possible suspects! Acts
      like this FUEL the war on terror, just like their grand daddy, 911! The
      whole truth has not been exposed about the Orlando shooting, just like
      ALL the other mass shootings that have been blamed on Muslims. It never
      will. When you stop and consider this, how coverups are the norm, you
      have to conclude that an agency of the government WAS responsible in
      some way for setting Mateen up or altered the story to throw as much
      blame on Muslims as possible. False flags are not that difficult when
      you have the media and police on your side!

  5. False flags are easy to rig in a broken system. So are false flags among the Resistance. It’s like something gleaned from several books, including Army training manuals. Love the way they document, sometimes. But the OSI had the task of coordinating Resistance in Occupied Europe. That these guys were just plain eat up with hardened criminals who had long experience with the best or worst police tactics in Europe. One thing comes clear. The more ID documents are required by the fuzz, the easier it is to pass through with fakes. You get in a situation when say, 10% of the poplation of Paris had to go from one side of town to the other, through checkpoints. Let’s say you’re the cop (no matter what jurisdiction or uniform, but in this case Schutzstaffel) standing at 0500 at a checkpoint and there are literally hundreds of workers waiting to have you wave them through. Let’s say also it’s one of those lovely early “april in Paris’ all day piss you off rain events. Much as you’ve tried you can’t for some reason get the French guys to speak your language. You can’t just shoot them. The whole purpose of occupation is to keep the civilian side running smoothly so you can strip the country being occupied of it’s resources. What would you do? You have all these dudes and dudettes waving papers at you that look official. Are you really going to check every damn one of them? So now flash back to 2016. You’re watching videos every day, of people doing stuff like watching TV, sleeping, molesting the dog, whatever. All Day. Every Damn Day. Just sit there and watch the most boring repetitive bullshit soap opera ever written. All Damn Day… One of the things noted in the Orlando case, the dude was a security specialist. The Air Farce had that as one possible career path for me, but I did the one intelligent thing that occured that fateful day. (I should have just bugged out) I declined to be a Security Police/Security Specialist. Told the recruiter I needed something quite different. Damn, I missed out on riding circuit on the missile base at Minot N D.
    I dodged the proverbial bullet. Also the chance to eventually work at a monitor watching people sleep, eat, watch TV. Listen to phone calls like “hey, it wouldn’t hurt to call your mom once in a while” and gossip. My god, gossip.
    And get my arse reamed if something slips through. Like those SS guards standing in the middle of a busy intersection in the Paris Rain.
    Better thee than me.

  6. And, by golly, If I had that job I might go crazy(er) A certain point to bring forward, a lot of people hide their homicidal mania under a layer of religion, patriotism, or something similar. I believe that IF Omar acted alone, and IF he had actually claimed he was doing it for ISIS… it would be bullshit. Like he could claim membership in a radical and admittedly bad-ass organization when he got to jail, assuming he survived the shootout. It would look good on his street creds, at least with some prisoners. It’s shocking to realize, but there are a lot of criminals committing crimes. Saying you’re doing it for a Resistance group of any kind would take a lot of heat off of you. Like the European Resistance groups. A lot of their members were criminals by trade. Paint a nicer face on it and grab some of the pre-Pentagon war subsidies.

    And a healthy dose of being defined as a Patriot instead of the Usual.

  7. Edit: I put OSI when I meant OSS. OSI is the Air Force version of the DEA. All these TLA Three Letter Acronyms are kicking my FIA fat Indian arse. My God I shouldn’t revisit the Air Force memories. It could cause dain bramage.

Comments are closed.