Ron is working to keep local communities safe by seeking answers on why the Orlando terrorist was taken off the terrorist watchlist.
Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson sent a letter Tuesday to the Justice Department’s Inspector General to ask why the gunman who attacked an Orlando nightclub was taken off the so-called terrorist watchlist.
Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at an Orlando nightclub, June 12.
For several months in 2013 and 2014, Mateen was on the Terrorist Screening Database. The FBI investigated his alleged ties to terrorism and he was taken off the list. Despite being interviewed again by the FBI in July 2014, his name was not put back on the list.
Johnson chairs the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, which has broad oversight.
In his letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Johnson wrote that the terrorist attack in Orlando “calls for a thorough independent review of what the FBI did to investigate Mateen and the decision to remove Mateen from the TSDB.”
“It also calls for a thorough review of the Watchlisting Guidance to determine if the criteria are appropriate to balance the evolving nature of the lone wolf and other terrorist threats our nation faces, with the liberties and rights of law-abiding citizens.”
In the letter, Johnson noted that removal of Mateen from the terrorist watchlist “prevented law enforcement from obtaining information that could have been used to prevent the Orlando attack.”
Had Mateen been on the list at the time he purchased firearms used in the attack in June, “the Justice Department would have been alerted to the purchase,” Johnson wrote.
From Right Wisconsin:
It’s been over a month since a lone-wolf terrorist attack killed 49 at an Orlando nightclub. One of the greatest mysteries of that tragedy has been how and why the Department of Justice took the shooter off the terrorist watch list when he was on it previously.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) has determined a month without answers from the FBI and DOJ is long enough and he wants them now.
In the letter , Johnson and staff ask for the following:
- All information on the 2013 and 2014 FBI investigations into Omar Mateen and the FBI’s rationale at the time to include him on the terrorist watchlist and all subsequent sub-lists.
- All materials related to how the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other agencies reached its decision to remove Mateen from the terrorist watchlist and all subsequent sub-lists.
- A copy of the FBI’s 2014 audit on determining how people are placed on (and removed from) the terrorist watchlist.
- A listing of the current criteria in which people are placed on the terrorist watchlist and any recent changes which may have been made to that criteria post-Orlando.
- Any and all comprehensive studies or analysis on whether the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is utilizing all data available to it (including the terrorist watchlist) to assist in counter terrorism investigations and preventing suspected terrorists from obtaining firearms illegally.
The chairman of a Senate homeland-security committee on Tuesday called for an independent review of how the FBI handled its 2013 and 2014 investigations into the Pulse nightclub shooter and an assessment of the terrorism watch list criteria.
If gunman Omar Mateen had remained on the watch list after the FBI probes, federal officials would have been notified when he tried to buy guns before the Pulse massacre, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., wrote in the letter, made available to media Wednesday.
That alert could have prompted a new investigation, and “law enforcement potentially could have uncovered information on social media or elsewhere of Mateen’s radicalization,” wrote Johnson, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Johnson’s comments are the latest in his quest to gain more information about the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history, following other letters he sent to Facebook and Mateen’s employer, G4S Secure Solutions.