FBI Director James Comey said Monday that the Bureau had previously investigated the killer responsible for murdering 50 people in an Orlando gay nightclub Saturday night, but he said he didn’t believe there was anything that could have been done differently.
Comey confirmed that the FBI had first come into contact with the killer in May 2013. While a contract security guard at a local courthouse, he had made inflammatory statements about terrorist ties that drew the attention of investigators. He claimed connections to al-Qaeda and Hezbollah, which is a “bitter enemy” of Islamic State, Comey noted.
The Bureau spent 10 months investigating the killer, recording conversations, reviewing his communications, following him, and conducting two interviews. After the preliminary investigation concluded, the killer’s name resurfaced in a separate investigation, resulting in another interview in July 2014. Again, the agents closed their investigation.
The FBI was “going to look hard at our work to see if there’s anything we could have done differently,” Comey said. “So far the honest answer is, I don’t think so. I don’t see anything in reviewing our work that our agents should have done differently. But we’ll look at it in an open and honest way and be transparent about it.”
“Our work is very challenging,” he continued. “We are looking for needles in a nationwide haystack. But we’re also called upon to figure out which pieces of hay might someday become needles.”
[image via screengrab]
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