Obama and Comey's FBI Dropped Investigation on 6 Domestic Terrorists Shortly Before Attacks


Six times during an almost eight-year span when either Robert Mueller or James Comey were running the FBI for former President Barack Obama, the nation’s premier law enforcement agency had its eyes locked on potential terrorists.

But then it blinked, according to a Justice Department report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

The report covered the time from November 2009 to January 2017. Mueller was head of the FBI from 2001 until 2013, when Comey took the reins until he was fired in May 2017 by President Donald Trump. The attacks in question included the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013 and the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting in 2016.

The report’s measured tones summarize the issue.

“The FBI has acknowledged that various weaknesses related to its assessment process may have impacted its ability to fully investigate certain counterterrorism assessment subjects who later committed terrorist attacks in the United States. Following these attacks, the FBI made various efforts to evaluate and improve its assessment process. However, it has not ensured that identified areas for improvement were formalized and implemented into enhanced policies and procedures,” the report said.

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“During our audit, we found at least six attacks committed in the United States by individuals who the FBI had previously assessed or investigated and who were subsequently categorized as HVEs,” it said. The initials stand for “homegrown violent extremists.”

The report said that even when the FBI tried to right the ship, it failed.

“[I]n 2017, the FBI conducted an enterprise-wide review and identified potential terrorist threats that may not have been adequately assessed during calendar years (CY) 2014 through 2016, which amounted to 6 percent of the total assessments reviewed. We found that the FBI did not take adequate action on nearly 40 percent of these assessments for 18 months. After we inquired about the lack of action, the FBI reexamined these assessments and, in some instances, the reexamination resulted in the opening of an investigation,” the report said.

The report’s release drew a scorching tweet from Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

The first of the incidents examined was a Nov. 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood, Texas, by then-Army Maj. Nidal Hassan in which 13 were killed — 12 military members and one civilian.

The report said “shortcomings in the FBI’s policies and procedures related to counterterrorism assessments contributed to delays and potential missed opportunities to mitigate Hasan’s actions. One of the recommendations made in this report included developing formal policies on the assignment and completion of routine counterterrorism assessments to address issues of timeliness and to encourage prioritization of counterterrorism assessments.”

But when the FBI reviewed its performance leading up to the April 15, 2013, Boston bombing by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that killed three people and left 260 wounded, there were still shortcomings.

“In April 2014, a multi-agency Inspector General review of the FBI’s actions in assessing Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the HVEs who carried out the terrorist attack, found that the FBI counterterrorism agent assigned to the Guardian assessment did not take certain available steps to evaluate the subject,” the report said.

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Although an initial assessment said Tsarnev had “no nexus to terrorism,” his file was flagged to note any overseas travel. However, the agency never investigated after Tsarnev went to Russia, even though “FBI supervisors stated that Tsarnaev’s travel to Russia was significant and warranted further investigation.”

Other attacks cited where the FBI had the attacker on its radar but closed its preliminary investigation include a failed attack in Garland, Texas, on May 30, 2015, that left the two shooters, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, dead; bombings in New York and New Jersey in September 2016 that injured 30 people, and a Jan. 6, 2017 attack at the Fort Lauderdale Airport that left five people dead.

“This report noted that threat information related to Elton Simpson was … not acted upon because field office agents did not interpret the information as portraying a significant threat, which resulted in a missed opportunity to avert the attack. The report also stated that although the field office subsequently received additional information regarding Simpson and opened an investigation on him, the field office did not open an assessment on Simpson’s roommate who also had indications of radical behavior and participated in the Garland terrorist attack,” the report said.

Omar Mateen, the shooter in the 2016 Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, was the subject of an initial investigation that was opened in 2013 and closed in 2014, the report said.

“[T]he FBI found that Mateen had a documented history of mental health issues, but according to the FBI Inspection Division, the investigation did not properly address the underlying risk of his mental health condition. After the FBI closed the investigation, Mateen committed a terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, and killed 49 people,” the report said.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at
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