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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: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 789054

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1115991765
Mobile708511234
Madison49865633
Shelby36274315
Baldwin36242495
Tuscaloosa33931548
Montgomery33190678
Lee22680220
Calhoun21211410
Morgan19816335
Etowah19300462
Marshall17680274
Houston16823386
St. Clair15442305
Cullman14602258
Limestone14581188
Elmore14480264
Lauderdale13520281
Talladega12958236
DeKalb12199237
Walker10588330
Blount9720157
Autauga9667137
Jackson9385158
Coffee8882175
Dale8609173
Colbert8534184
Tallapoosa6673181
Escambia6591121
Covington6452167
Chilton6385144
Russell607255
Franklin5795101
Chambers5416134
Marion4800120
Dallas4705189
Clarke463279
Pike462397
Geneva4413117
Winston425895
Lawrence4117108
Bibb409381
Barbour347270
Marengo326285
Monroe320053
Butler318290
Randolph305956
Pickens305274
Henry301858
Hale292685
Cherokee289855
Fayette279673
Washington245448
Crenshaw238470
Cleburne235851
Clay228565
Macon220158
Lamar197743
Conecuh182046
Lowndes170758
Coosa170235
Wilcox159736
Bullock149243
Perry136537
Sumter124536
Greene121443
Choctaw73427
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