Florida Gov. Rick Scott is calling for FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign in the wake of the revelation that the FBI received a warning about Nikolas Cruz prior to the shooting. Scott’s statement reads:
The FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable. The FBI has admitted that they were contacted last month by a person who called to inform them of Cruz’s ‘desire to kill people,’ and ‘the potential of him conducting a school shooting.’
Seventeen innocent people are dead and acknowledging a mistake isn’t going to cut it. An apology will never bring these 17 Floridians back to life or comfort the families who are in pain. The families will spend a lifetime wondering how this could happen, and an apology will never give them the answers they desperately need.
We constantly promote ‘see something, say something,’ and a courageous person did just that to the FBI. And the FBI failed to act. ‘See something, say something’ is an incredibly important tool and people must have confidence in the follow through from law enforcement. The FBI Director needs to resign.
This seems like something that could catch on. Sen. Marco Rubio didn’t go as far as calling for Wray resignation, but he did call the failure “inexcusable.” He also suggested the House and Senate should investigate how the FBI handles such tips:
It is inexcusable that the FBI failed to follow protocols and inform the Miami Field Office that people close to the Parkland, FL shooter warned the Bureau over a month ago of his desire to kill, his mental state, and erratic behavior.
The fact that the FBI is investigating this failure is not enough. Both the House and Senate need to immediately initiate their own investigations into the FBI’s protocols for ensuring tips from the public about potential killers are followed through. Lawmakers and law enforcement personnel constantly remind the public that ‘if you see something, say something.’ In this tragic case, people close to the shooter said something, and our system utterly failed the families of seventeen innocent souls.
Rubio’s reference to the FBI investigating is to another statement made today by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions released a statement saying he had ordered a review of the FBI’s failure in this instance but also of how the FBI responds to tips like this in general:
It is now clear that the warning signs were there and tips to the FBI were missed. We see the tragic consequences of those failures.
The FBI in conjunction with our state and local partners must act flawlessly to prevent all attacks. This is imperative, and we must do better. I have ordered the Deputy Attorney General to conduct an immediate review of our process here at the Department of Justice and FBI to ensure that we reach the highest level of prompt and effective response to indications of potential violence that come to us. This includes more than just an error review but also a review of how we respond. This will include possible consultation with family members, mental health officials, school officials, and local law enforcement.
We will make this a top priority. It has never been more important to encourage every person in every community to spot the warning signs and alert law enforcement. Do not assume someone else will step up–all of us must be vigilant. Our children’s lives depend on it.
Remember, there was talk just a couple weeks ago that Wray might resign (or should resign) over the release of the Nunes memo. That didn’t happen, obviously, but he may have already been feeling some uncertainty about his position at the FBI and thinking about his next move. Maybe the Parkland failure will be the last straw.