Special to WorldTribune.com
By Bill Juneau
After dallying around and maneuvering politically on behalf of far left progressives, and having admitted to significant lying about former President Trump, the once trusted and esteemed FBI has gotten nailed for gross negligence. It will be paying mightily to settle school shooting lawsuits filed against the agency in south Florida.
Recently, news organizations have reported that the federal police department will be paying $125 to $130 million in damages to the families of students slain and wounded by a former classmate in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida. The explosion of violence occurred on Valentine’s Day in 2018. It was carnage which would not have happened, save the incompetence of the FBI.
The incredible dereliction of the FBI cannot be disputed as the agency had been told on two occasions that Nicholas Cruz of South Florida was planning a shooting at the Stoneman Douglas high school from which he had been expelled. Cruz was well known to the sheriff’s office in Broward county as a trouble maker and had been the subject of some 20 investigations in recent months and years in upscale Parkland.
Information for the FBI came from tipsters and from a youth who knew Cruz personally, and from postings by Cruz himself on the social networks. Topping it off, agents were advised on January 5, that Cruz had intentions to shoot up the school which had expelled him for disciplinary problems. The informant provided to the FBI the name “Nicholas Cruz” and his address in Parkland where he resided with his stepmother. The tipster even advised the G-men that the 19-year-old youth had acquired guns and ammunition which he kept in his home. “I know that he is going to explode,” the informant told the FBI.
Instead of investigating and interviewing Cruz, the FBI junked the information.
Related: Feckless Bureau of Investigation: FBI under Wray hid Hunter’s laptop, failed to act on major threats, March 14, 2021
On the following sunny Feb. 14th afternoon, Cruz went to the high school, climbed onto the third floor with his rifle in a back pack, and began mowing down students mulling about. Sixteen teenagers and a faculty member were fatally shot, and some 17 others were wounded, but survived following hospital care. After finishing, the teen assassin went to a nearby fast-food restaurant, had a hamburger, and subsequently was arrested there without resistance.
He has pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first degree murder and other counts of attempted murder. Next Jan. 4, a jury will be impaneled and asked to determine his sentence. He faces a possible death sentence or a minimum of life in prison.
The negligence of the FBI was so egregious that then Florida Gov. Rick Scott, now U.S. Senator Scott, called immediately for the firing of FBI Director Christopher Wray, but Wray’s deputies apologized on his behalf and he retained his job. Wray had been appointed director, succeeding James Comey, in June of 2017, by President Trump and he took office the following August 1.
Faced with accusations of negligence which allowed the slaughter of the teenagers, FBI Deputy Director David Bodich posted some hollow words. “Under established protocols,” he said, ” the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life…….and the tip should have been forwarded to the Miami field office……we clearly should have done more.”
Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter, Meadow, died in the shooting, commended the FBI for accepting responsibility for its inaction Also contributing to the negligence, said Pollack, were the Broward County school district and sheriff’s office, the school security staff and the psychologists who treated the shooter. They all failed to stop the shooter and have ducked responsibility for the school shooting, he said.
Tony Montalato, whose 14-year-old daughter, Gina, died, said no settlement will “replace my bright, bubbly daughter.” While other families will be celebrating thanksgiving and Christmas, he added, Gina’s chair will remain empty.
The FBI is and has been the foremost investigating agency in the world. Its credibility took a real hit under James Comey’s supervision in which agents lied about President Trump, and his made-up ties to Russia. Then came the keystone cop performance in Parkland. Christopher Wray’s appointment as director was confirmed by the Senate with a 92 to 5 vote, but his positive influence on the agency remains in serious doubt.
Bill Juneau worked for 25 years as a reporter and night city editor at the Chicago Tribune. Subsequently he became a partner in a law firm and also served as a village prosecutor and as a consultant to the Cook County Circuit Court and to the Cook County Medical Examiner. He is currently writing columns and the ‘Florida Bill‘ blog.