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Rubio: FBI’s inaction ‘inexcusable’; Gov. Scott calls for FBI director’s resignation

Florida senator wants congressional investigations.
Published Feb. 16, 2018
Updated Feb. 16, 2018

WASHINGTON – Sen. Marco Rubio and other political figures blasted the FBI for failing to investigate a report about the Parkland school shooter.

"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," Rubio said in a statement.

"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."

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, said:

"This has been an excruciating few days for the Parkland community. Now, it appears that this tragedy could have been prevented. The American people should be encouraged to say something if they see something. But we also must be assured that these tips will be processed swiftly and thoroughly so we can avoid future tragedies. I will be in close communication with the FBI so that we get to the bottom of this. The FBI and the U.S. Congress must conduct a full oversight investigation of the FBI's internal processes, procedures, and, in this case, apparent failures. We need answers from the FBI to ensure that if people offer their assistance, the FBI will follow through. And we need action from Congress to enact meaningful legislation that will stop horrific gun violence and make our communities safer. Parkland deserves nothing less."

Gov. Rick Scott:

"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."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

"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."

The FBI received a specific report in January that the suspect in the Florida school shooting could be plotting an attack, but agents failed to investigate the tip, the agency said Friday.

A tipster who was close to Nikola Cruz called the FBI and provided information about Cruz's guns and his erratic behavior, including his expressed desire to kill people and his disturbing social media posts. The caller was concerned that Cruz could attack a school.

In a statement issued Friday, the agency acknowledged that the tip should have been investigated thoroughly.

The FBI was also notified about a comment on a YouTube video posted by a "Nikolas Cruz" last year. It investigated the comment but did not determine who made it.

Cruz has been charged with killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, north of Miami.

In a statement, Wray said: "I am committed to getting to the bottom of what happened in this particular matter, as well as reviewing our processes for responding to information that we receive from the public. We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy."

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran:

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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