After briefing President Obama on the attack at an Orlando, Florida nightclub that killed 49 people, FBI Director James Comey told reporters that his agents conducted interviews with the shooter in 2013 and 2014, but ultimately found no links to any possible terrorist activity, nothing that would have foreshadowed this weekend’s bloody attack.
“I don’t see anything in our work that our agents should have done differently,” Comey said, as he acknowledged that gunman Omar Mateen first came on the FBI’s radar in 2013, and again in 2014.
“We are highly confident that this killer was radicalized,” though the FBI Director said there was no evidence that Mateen was being directed by outside groups, despite the shooter’s pledge that he support the Islamic State.
That declaration, the FBI Director said, was made in one of three phone calls to 911 that were made by Mateen during the attack.
In his statement to reporters, the FBI chief repeatedly refused to use the name of the shooter – telling reporters he was doing that on purpose.
“Part of what motivates sick people to do this kind of thing, is some twisted notion of fame or glory,” Comey said.
“I don’t want to be part of that, for the sake of the victims and their families,” he added.
Earlier, President Obama had hit some of the FBI’s points, telling reporters after a briefing in the Oval Office that there was so far no direct link to any outside terror group.
“The one thing we can say is that this is being treated as a terrorist investigation,” the President said.
For a second straight day, Mr. Obama also worked in a call for new gun controls on “very powerful firearms.”
But once again, this President faces a Congress that is overwhelmingly pro-gun rights, as there seems to be little chance right now of any gun measure getting approved by lawmakers.