By Steve Neavling
Director James B. Comey speaking in Orlando.
FBI Director James Comey said the FBI is making progress combating so-called lone-wolf terrorists who are becoming radicalized on the Internet and are willing to act alone.
Comey made the statements during a “Q&A” with the Sun Sentinel while visiting Broward County in Florida to dedicate the bureau’s new Miramar headquarters.
There are reports of investigations into lone-wolf types happening in every state. How worried should America be, and what is the FBI doing about it?
“I think Americans should be comforted knowing that we’re working on this all day long, every day. I have a lot of people focused on this in all 50 states and we are covering it, I think, in a good way. It’s a challenge for us given how hard it is to spot these people because they’re on the Internet, in their homes. But as you can see, we’re locking a bunch of them up. So we’re making some good progress against this.”
Is the FBI getting involved in any investigation of officers on behalf of Fort Lauderdale police?
“We’ve been in touch with the department, as has the Department of Justice, but I don’t want to comment on what we’re doing in particular.”
What kind of lessons has the bureau learned from the Tsarnaev case?
“Well we’ve learned a lot of lessons. The first is we did a pretty good job with that investigation, but that we could work better with our partners and our joint terrorism task forces, and then a bunch of things related to our systems. We use every single case as an opportunity to learn and grow and there was learning there. But I think on balance we did a pretty good job there.”
What could have been done better?
“One of the issues was local police chiefs felt like they didn’t have a clear view of what cases we were closing, in case they wanted to do something additional. So we changed our process so that we now meet in every joint terrorism task force with the local chiefs and review the inventory: ‘Here’s what came in, here’s what we’re closing, are there any questions?’ That was a very important change.”
So more people are watching these lone-wolf suspects?
“Yes. But our relationship with our state and local partners is critical to these investigations. So one of the things that grew out of Boston is we even improved that relationship.”
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