FBI tells House members tips missed ahead of Parkland shooting

Acting Deputy FBI Director David Bowdich told House members privately Tuesday that the FBI missed two tips about the ...

Posted: Mar 6, 2018 8:01 PM
Updated: Mar 6, 2018 8:01 PM

Acting Deputy FBI Director David Bowdich told House members privately Tuesday that the FBI missed two tips about the gunman who killed 17 people at a Florida high school, but also asserted that the ongoing federal investigations into other matters -- including Russia meddling -- were not the cause of the tragic error.

President Donald Trump has suggested that the Russia investigation undercut the ability of the FBI to act on tips before the shooting. But Bowdich seemed to reject that assertion under questioning during a briefing before the House Judiciary and Oversight panels, suggesting that no other ongoing inquiries affected how the Florida case was handled, multiple sources said.

Still, Bowdich acknowledged there were significant mistakes in how the FBI handled the tips -- and said the matter remains under further investigation, the sources said.

Bowdich told lawmakers in a private briefing Tuesday that the FBI had received two tips -- one last September and one in January -- about the threat that Nikolas Cruz posed to his community in Parkland, Florida, according two sources familiar with the matter. The first tip came following a YouTube post that asserted that Cruz wanted to be a school shooter, something that was directed to a field office in Jackson, Mississippi. The agent in charge of the matter investigated the issue, but that agent was unable to make any headway in the investigation, failing to determine who Cruz was.

RELATED: FBI tip line caller described Nikolas Cruz as 'about to explode'

But the agent did not ask YouTube for a copy of the original posting or send a preservation order to YouTube, according to the sources. After fruitlessly trying to determine Cruz's identity, the agent sought to close the case on October 11, 2017, and it was officially closed after a second review suggested that the matter was not a national security threat.

In January, an employee for the FBI's call center in West Virginia got a call warning about Cruz, and the employee ran the matter by her supervisor. The caller told the FBI that the Parkland police had been notified about the threat posted by Cruz, as the tipster warned about his recent behavior and actions. But the caller was not aware of any specific plans to carry out a school shooting, the sources said. So the FBI did not consider the matter a direct threat.

While the FBI employee did see the report from September 25 about the YouTube post, the FBI did not act upon the matter since the earlier report was not labeled as a national security threat at the time. Whether the employee shared that information from that report with the supervisor is uncertain, and Bowdich made clear both calls are under further investigation. He said the second call should have been referred to local field offices to follow up.

Moreover, a source who was in the room told CNN that Bowdich detailed how the FBI missed a warning from the tipster, who told the FBI they witnessed Cruz possessed guns and kept them on his bed.

A person close to Cruz contacted the FBI on January 5 to report concerns about him, the FBI said in a statement February 16. But the bureau did not appropriately follow established protocols in following up on the tip.

Last month, Bowdich acknowledged that proper protocols weren't followed on a tip about Cruz, who confessed to the shooting.

"There was a mistake made, we know that," Bowdich told reporters at a news conference February 22. "Our job is to make sure that doesn't happen again."

"It is not easy work, I'm not making excuses, because what happened was a tragedy, truly a tragedy," he continued. "But it is our job to make sure that we do everything in our power to ensure it does not happen again."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month the Justice Department was "looking at a number of things" in response to the school shooting "to make sure that we do everything we can reasonably do to push back against this kind of violence."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
Lauderdale6067192
Lowndes5490120
Lafayette511794
Lamar499865
Washington4904125
Bolivar4087109
Oktibbeha403581
Panola380981
Pontotoc374757
Monroe3651106
Warren3649103
Union353263
Marshall352069
Neshoba3464154
Pearl River3422105
Leflore3090109
Lincoln304287
Sunflower290373
Hancock288461
Tate279062
Alcorn270754
Pike268180
Itawamba266662
Scott256048
Yazoo253756
Prentiss251153
Copiah247649
Tippah247550
Coahoma245954
Simpson241471
Leake236167
Grenada222471
Marion220273
Covington219072
Adams212370
Wayne208432
Winston205870
George203539
Newton197346
Attala196461
Tishomingo193861
Chickasaw188444
Jasper177838
Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
Amite100826
Webster95424
Tunica88221
Claiborne87825
Jefferson Davis87727
Benton84823
Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
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