FBI Allowed Watch-Listed Orlando Shooter to Legally Buy Semi-Automatic Rifle

Updated on June 5, 2019

The Orlando shooter, who had been closely watched by the FBI and interviewed at least three times, was able to legally buy a semi-automatic weapon even after being on terror watch lists in recent years. The suspect passed a background check of the national databases run by the FBI, and was either not flagged as a former suspect, or the flag was not acted upon.

ABC reported yesterday:

"Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen legally purchased the guns he had on him today within the past week, even though he had been known to law enforcement for years, federal officials confirmed."

In order to buy a gun, prospective owners, including terrorists, must pass a background check through databases maintained by the FBI. These are the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the Interstate Identification Index (III), and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Index.

The FBI A former acting director of Homeland Security, John Cohen, told ABC News that what disqualifies a terror list suspect from buying an assault rifle "might be classified."

Omar Mateen had been interviewed by the FBI three times in recent years, ABC said. The FBI's prior knowledge of Omar's activities, views, and sympathies are reminiscent of the Boston bombing, when it was revealed, after official denials, that the Boston FBI had interviewed the suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in the years before the attacks. Congressional hearings were called and FBI officials were criticized for having "dropped the ball" on the suspects, one of whom was killed during a shootout with police and the other convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Ironically, although being investigated by the FBI and having been on a terror watch list had reportedly disqualified the elder Tsarnaev brother, Tamerlan, from obtaining US citizenship, similar circumstances did not disqualify Omar in Orlando from legally buying semi-automatic weapons. Former acting Homeland Security undersecretary John Cohen told ABC News:

"Being on the watch list is not in itself disqualifying, under law."

The New York Times reported:

"The F.B.I. director said on Monday that the gunman in the mass killing in Orlando was on a terrorist watchlist from 2013 to 2014, but that months of intense investigation into his foreign travels, his inflammatory language with co-workers and his possible motivations did not produce enough evidence to arrest him."

The FBI did not say why a former terror suspect attempting to buy a weapon would not send a flag to agents, even if the purchase were allowed. Or if a flag had been sent, why agents did not act upon it.

In the Boston Marathon bombing, the prior knowledge of the FBI's Boston office of the Tsarnaev brothers as potential terrorists spurred questions over why the FBI had called for the public's assistance in identifying the suspects from surveillance photos, when the Boston FBI already knew who they were. A blogger at ThePeoplesVoice.org wrote:

"[The FBI] told the public they singled out these men based only on the video images. The public was led to believe that the FBI had no knowledge at this time of who the men were, not even what their names were. We were led to believe that there was no prior connection between the FBI and these completely unknown (to the FBI) individuals.

But it turns out (based on this CBS News story days after the FBI press conference) that the FBI knew these individuals very well. The FBI had actually interviewed** the elder brother suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, two years ago."

The FBI's prior knowledge of and direct personal contacts with young Muslim men before the commitment of terrorist acts has triggered a spate of journalism in recent years on the FBI's practice of luring the young men into acts they might not otherwise be predisposed to do, or "entrapment." The Rolling Stone, the New York Times, the UK Guardian, and Democracy Now have all examined cases in which the FBI acted as the facilitator of terrorist plots.

Former Fox News anchor Ben Swann, of Reality Check, has pointed out that in at least one instance, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the FBI's enlistment of malcontents to carry out an attack resulted in a live attack on American citizens. In 1993 the New York Times published tapes taken surreptitiously of conversations, between an FBI informant and his handlers, which implicated the FBI in carrying out the 1993 bombing. In the tapes, the FBI's plan was to substitute a harmless black powder for gunpowder in the WTC bomb, but somehow, in the informant's words, the plan got "messed up."

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, soapboxie.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)